July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
9 months ago

Obama proposes jobs deal with GOP

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET on 7/30

(CNN) – A new plan from President Barack Obama that would alter the corporate tax code while investing in job creation is a deal that any "serious" lawmaker could sign onto, the president argued in Tennessee Tuesday.

What Obama called a "grand bargain" is being proposed in a bid to break partisan gridlock currently plaguing attempts to pass major legislation in Washington, though congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan, which the president announced at an Amazon.com distribution center in Chattanooga.

"Here's the bottom line: If folks in Washington really want a 'grand bargain,' how about a grand bargain for middle-class jobs?" Obama said in his fourth speech in a week centered on the economy. "I don't want to go through the same old arguments, where I propose an idea and Republicans say no just because it's my idea. So I'm going to try offering something that serious people in both parties should be able to support."

Obama suggested Congress cut corporate tax rates - long a goal of Republicans - while simultaneously making investments in job creation programs, which Democrats and the president have been championing.

In the past, both Obama and Republicans have insisted that corporate tax reform be passed alongside reform for individual earners. Republicans argue that some small business owners file taxes as individuals, and would only benefit from an overhaul of the entire tax code.

The president's plan would propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35% while making the filing process simpler and ramping up incentives for small businesses to hire workers.

The plan would also put the tax rate on manufacturers at 25% and remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas.

On Tuesday, Obama explained that he's open to changing only the corporate tax code as long as it's combined with major investments in programs that create high-paying middle class jobs.

"If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we're also going to have to give workers a better deal, too," he said, suggesting money saved by closing tax loopholes should be put toward infrastructure initiatives that would create construction jobs.

Obama also called for bolstering the country's manufacturing sector and network of community colleges, and proposed creating 45 "innovation institutes" that pair companies with universities and community colleges with the goal of fostering research and development.

Early reaction from Republicans to the outlines of the president's plan was not receptive.

"While I understand he is looking for headlines here, reports indicate that the policy he intends to announce doesn't exactly qualify as news," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "It is just a further left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago, this time with extra goodies for tax-and-spend liberals."

McConnell said he first learned of the plan Monday night. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, wrote on Twitter his office learned of the proposed "grand bargain" through media reports, though White House officials said they reached out to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday to discuss the proposal.

Michael Steel, another spokesman for Boehner, cast the proposal as old news.

"The President has always supported corporate tax reform," Steel wrote in a statement. "Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama's position on taxes and President Obama's position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind."

Another House Republican leadership aide said the White House was taking their own plan and making it less amenable to Republicans than previous offers, while "trying to extract a ransom of infrastructure spending" at the same time.

The aide argued the new White House plan was an attempt to "get a headline that says they're offering a grand bargain."

Obama's address in Chattanooga is the latest in a series of speeches the president will deliver on the economy and jobs, part of an attempt to turn back to the issue that rates as most important among Americans. The tour began last week in Illinois, Missouri and Florida.

Tuesday's announcement of a "grand bargain" was the first specific proposal the president made in his new push to focus on the economy, though White House officials say there will be more as the initiative continues.

During his remarks, Obama said he'd "keep throwing things out there to see if something takes" on jobs.

"If (Republicans) have better ideas to help create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, or help workers earn the high-tech skills our businesses demand, let's hear 'em," the president said.

Amazon.com, whose facility Obama spoke at Tuesday, announced this week plans to hire 7,000 workers for its U.S. operation, with most jobs offering pay and benefits far above typical retail wages, the company said.

Amazon did not give specific pay scales for the positions, but said the 5,000 warehouse jobs will pay 30% more than jobs in traditional retail stores.

The jobs are full-time permanent positions and also include stock grants that, over the last five years, have averaged 9% of pay for Amazon's full-time workers. And the company said many workers would also be eligible for 95% tuition reimbursement for those attending college, whether or not their field of study is related to their job.

In addition, Amazon is looking for 2,000 workers for its customer service department, with those jobs being a mix of full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.

CNN's Brianna Keilar, Chris Isidore and Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report.


Filed under: Jobs • President Obama
soundoff (722 Responses)
  1. Bill

    "Obama's New Grand Bargain": stealing from people who have lawfully earned and paid taxes on the money they earned.

    July 30, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. gt

    All the Obama administration and this congress has to do to get jobs is if any one that wants to start a small business and hire people not pay business taxes for 2 or 3 years. The income taxes from the new jobs will far out weigh any corporate or business taxes. I sent Obama, Senator Reed, and Speaker of the house John and got no response. Congress and President Obama said 75% of new jobs is from small businesses. Than let new small business make new jobs.

    July 30, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. rbonilla

    bargin w/a muzzie....your kidding, right...??

    July 30, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Randall Shutt: We lower corporate tax rates without providing any real incentive to hire American, and we just make the rich richer.

    True. However, he never said that lowering the tax rate for corporations would bring in more jobs. He is merely proposing to do so because he knows Republicans will have less reason to vote against it. Not that such will stop them from voting no. I am not sure they have another button.

    July 30, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. IDontKnow

    " Grand" ? what is this? the 1930's again? Somebody point the White House to an internet dictionary and toss out FDRs old book.

    July 30, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. stopdrinkinthekoolaid

    the catch here -obumma shouts :" LETS LOWER TAX RATES (ONLY FOR CORP)".. but whispers "as long as it's tied to investments"
    So what you can read into this is more gov spending.

    July 30, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. david

    the GOP = irrelevant !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 obama

    Obama touts jobs, but then LIES about the number of jobs that the Keystone Pipeline would create. He says 50 jobs and 'maybe 2000" in construction. Well, his own State Department said that it would create over 40,000 jobs and 5,000 support jobs. This president LIES for his agenda.

    July 30, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. PtBarnumBoy

    I sure hope the GOP doesn't fall for this. As long as people are unemployed my economic security is assured.

    July 30, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. Sere Blue

    I agree with Stan Yer. Plus, does anyone else think O bumma reminds them of the villian Stiltskin from the Shrek movie? Always preying on people with his "deal of a lifetime" scam supposedly to make their life better? We always end up losing something precious we didn't agree to.

    July 30, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. Chris

    You can't trust Obama when he speaks. He is offering this plan to somehow help make his Obamacare plan work or to hand jobs to his voting constiuents. I do, however, like the idea of cutting corporate taxes here and I like the idea of creating more jobs IF these jobs go to those most qualified and not filled simply as a race quota.

    July 30, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  12. Robert

    This is a subtle way of Obama to accuse Republicans of "Only caring about corporations" when the very reason they're opposing the deal is that Obama isn't also cutting taxes for individuals. 35% is an outlandish rate for any entity, including corporations. But what's more outlandish is that there are individuals who pay more than that.

    July 30, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Liz the First

    If Obama suggested we do away with all corporate taxes and drop the minimum wage to a buck an hour, the repugs would say no just because he suggested it. are they ever going to quit punishing the country for putting a black man in the 'white' house? time to vote every one of those mindless traitors out of office.

    July 30, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. petroskies

    he is out of focus his mind in things like gays, lesbians, dreamers illegals,race, jobs, golf, like any president from the african continent, or third world a large yes we can and a very few or better says nothing in reality truth, but that happen the foolish who vote for him twice, what the U.S. people from a man who in not white or black?

    July 30, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Donald Reid

    **** If we have 57 States, What are the names of the Seven States Obama went to?

    Well he's been to Psychotic, Neurotic, Catatonic, and Comatose States and the State of Hopelessness. Helplessness he went as recent and returned. However, he's never returned from Schizophrenic State...☺ ****

    July 30, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. jim

    Our corporatist president once again leaves families and small businesses behind.

    July 30, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. bill pike

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

    July 30, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. chuck

    And nobody believed a word he said.

    July 30, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. iceload9

    So they lower the corporate tax rate ( that no one pays now) and then there are no jobs. And it took 5 years to come up with this?

    July 30, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Truck

    Flip this record over,this song is getting old.....

    July 30, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. IreneN

    Once upon a time a young tree began to grow in the old forest. A big fat worm crawled by and said: "This land is mine. Always have been, always will. This tree will go down, I don't want to share! It will fail!" Many forest creatures were surprised: "Why? It is strong and healthy. It will grow tall and learn to bear fruit, give shade and protection. It needs all our help and support, we can't afford another civil war. Only unity will save us." The worm got mad because everyone was either angry at him or laughing in his face. And he said to himself: "I'll show you!". He summoned his fellow worms and they dropped everything, forgot about their jobs, true purpose and responsibilities around the forest and got all worked up over the newcomer just because they hated him and his ways of touching their pockets. They got under the tree and started chewing, ripping, poisoning and killing every tiny root and every shoot causing it to dry up and rot before evolving, sucking all the nutrients from the soil, hoarding jobs and reserves only to throw them into the crowd later, after the kill. Inevitably, the tree grew weaker and weaker and when, finally, the tree fell the smiling worms, bigger and fatter than ever, emerged from under the tree and said: "Told ya!!!!!!!". When the cheers for the new fat rulers had finally quieted down, the rest of the forest creatures, just as skinny as they were before the tree story began, looked around and suddenly it became painfully clear that a lot of time had been wasted and the entire forest grew much, much weaker too because all those political quarrels had consumed it all. Back to square one...

    July 30, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  22. cliffintex

    More corporate welfare, and asking us to believe that government can create jobs.

    July 30, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. abnguy

    Do not look at the scandals behind the curtain, I am the "jobs wizard".

    July 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. brown

    I used to be an Obama supporter but I have to say he is definitely in over his head.

    -Disappointed

    July 30, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. craig Franklin

    The problem is spending on government waste and pork for the lobbyist controlled politicians.

    Why don't they force the average American to loose 15 pounds of fat and to exercise to reduce health care spedinng?

    JFK :My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

    The great society of entitlements has led to more people in poverty not less. Some people will work and others will not.

    July 30, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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