July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
1 year 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. brown

    The good jobs were sent offshore years ago along with you and your family's future.

    The government justified its trade pacts by telling you they were going to send the junk jobs nobody
    wanted offshore and new high paying jobs would replace them. How's that working out for you?

    Put your faith in the guy that writes the check, not the guy who endorses it.

    July 30, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Kman66

    I hope people realize that by letting Obama skate on absolutely anything he does, they have set the bar so low that it will basically be a free for all for all future presidents, Democratic and Republican alike. Now that he has set a precedent for getting his way at any cost, ignoring public opinion and dignity, you can expect that same behavior from every future president. Scary stuff by not holding him accountable when we should have.

    July 30, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. draftanalyst

    Seriously, when will Repubs come with an idea, that helps America, instead of whining and complaining, it's a delaying, obstructionist Congress that needs to be replaced, c'mon ignorance is bliss, instead of finding some degree of happiness for America, repubs remained ignorant...example 4 years have passed, Obamacare is law, housing is coming back, the economy is regaining its wheels....., , instead of positive reinforcement, using legislation to help America come back even stronger, they weaken the strengths and the spirit of America, with racist language, and legislation, that does nothing to uplift America.....but rather.... destroy all of us

    July 30, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. dan

    Wow, going to create 45 innovational institutes. our young people can't afford college tuition so lets create a few more intitutes they can't afford.

    July 30, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. John

    I have a grand bargain for the president. Get out of the way of the pipeline project. Stop the social engineering.

    July 30, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. aflygirl2

    Does he ever say another new? The State Department did a massive report and in the report it said 41,000 new jobs would be created. I mean most would be only 2 or 3 years which would feed many mouths for those 2 or 3 years. The President is an economic illiterate.

    July 30, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    Congress only needs a quorum to conduct business, so I'd like to reduce its size to only those Republicans and Democrats willing to work together. Those are the only real congresspeople; the rest are just wasting the nation's time.

    July 30, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. andrew

    I have to ask those who support this President with every plan he put forth. Are you also making payments on a home, car, LED TV, Computer, etc. Then still trying to find ways to spend more money on a credit card and pay that off later also. In your case, how much debt is to much debt? 2 Million, 4 Million, or more? The plan today with cutting Corporate Tax rate is way overdue, but asking the governments credit card (we the people) to foot the bill for more infrastructure that could easily be done by the states is not helping with the National debt. Too many people are taking sides and not inspecting both side of the coin!

    July 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. aflygirl2

    Does he say anything new? Goodness gracious, his State Department issued a report that 41,000 temporary jobs would be created by the pipeline. High paying jobs for skilled labor. I bet those that would fill those positions don't care about them being temporary. Where would the construction industry be today if they thought like the President? "Sorry Nancy we cannot build you a house because after we complete the task we will no longer be employed." . We are surrounded by economic illiterates.

    July 30, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I went to college four years to become a ball sack polisher and can't even find a part time gig trimming my own pubes.seriously let's face it,its over.our whole government system is a puppet show and could probably be fixed in a year.high living standards just don't make the rich richer.uneducated,uniform,needy masses do.throw in a pop culture obsessed with money drugs and sex'i.e. what creates the first three' cook 45min and the goose is cooked.see you soon eating ramen noodles out of a shoe at DA trendy new club HOmEless shelter:-) ....

    July 30, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. Jim970

    Obama's big proposal would cut taxes (income) and provide, temporary, stimulus jobs (expenses). With the national debt growing at a supersonic rate, does reducing income while increasing expenses really sound like a wise thing to do?

    July 30, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Paulie

    I like his new swastika like flag. The O and 3 stars symbolizing his family. Its like he wants to become fuhrer and demand more of our money with fake promises of jobs (again).

    July 30, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. Not Too Hard To Understand

    If there is a real possibility of jobs coming out of this, we all know the GOP will try their hardest to kill it. The last thing the GOP wants is for this President to record any more successes. And thankfully,the rational side of the electorate understand where the obstruction is coming from.

    July 30, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. FactChecker

    The GOP has made a travesty of the legislative process. Obama is wrong in one regard, the GOP are not serious about legislating. They are serious only with doing nothing. As for the socialist comment about Obama, are you serious? Or have you turned into a talking parrot?

    July 30, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Harvesting

    I bet it is the same jobs plan used for Detroit. I mean he saved the auto industry right?

    July 30, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. smdahl

    How about a Grand Impeachment.

    July 30, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Barry

    Well let's be honest here folk's. If president Obama was serious about job's for the american people. Why didn't he get it done when he had control of the house and senate? He could have rammed a job's bill through. Instead we got Obama care which most people in the land do not support.

    July 30, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Ancient Texan

    Nothing new, same old same old; spending money we don't have and the "cut" in the corporate tax still leaves the U.S. with the highest tax rate in the world.

    July 30, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. ProtectAmericanJobs

    Wouldn't it be More Productive if Our Elected Leaders Started Working Together as AMERICANS for AMERICANS and AMERICA, instead of just bickering, stalling and posturing for the next election as democrats and republicans! The American People have had it with this unproductive BS! The way that both parties having been operating for years just stinks! Neither party has really been looking out for the best interests of the US Citizens who elect them and who they're supposed to represent.

    Both parties have sold out the bulk of the American citizens, who they're supposed to represent, by allowing the incursion of illegal aliens and the "out-sourcing" floodgates to open wider and wider without taking any sensible measures to stem the tide.

    It shouldn't be all about Democrats or Republicans! It should be about Americans, especially our elected officials, doing the right thing for our country and its citizens. All the single-minded, left versus right, ideological one dimensional bull has got to go!

    The Citizens of the United States of America need our elected leaders from both parties to start working together to actually start trying to fix the real problems in our country like "out-sourcing", illegal immigration, the out of control costs of health care insurance and our reliance on foreign fuel. Fix them together as Americans! – Because united we'll stand, but divided we'll fall.

    We need Leaders – Not politicians!

    July 30, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. teomakzia

    You can't get the republicans to do anything because if Obama found a way to cure every disease, the republicans would be opposed to it. There is absolutely nothing he can do to work with them because the only thing they care about is their Grand Old Party and nothing more.

    July 30, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. ProtectAmericanJobs

    While our politicians have been bickering for years like idiotic fools, China has been crushing the USA in a war that we don't even know we're in and without even firing a shot.

    Bringing manufacturing back home to the USA is going to end up being not only a key to restoring our economy, but to maintaining our national security as well.

    * Chinese firms and state agencies have been implicated in a host of hacking attacks, on targets ranging from leading industrial and technology firms, to the Pentagon and other US government agencies, to the New York Times, Coca-Cola and numerous other companies and industries.

    * Oct 2012: The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said U.S. telecommunications operators should not be allowed do business with China's top network equipment makers because potential Chinese state influence on the companies poses a security threat.

    * Also most counterfeit goods are produced and manufactured in China, making it the counterfeit capital of the world. In fact, the counterfeiting industry accounts for 8% of China's GDP.

    * Foreign Lobbyists here in the US promote sending US jobs to countries like China, where they work for slave wages, no benefits, no OSHA safety standards or no real environment regulations. It also doesn't help us compete when these company's factories are subsidized by China's communist government. Just check out the current Chinese extreme pollution issues – We all live in the same world, but not every country plays by the same rules.

    July 30, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. Splasher6

    why hasn't he created jobs already? He's had how many years to do so? liar

    July 30, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. mbsmith91

    He wants jobs yet nixes the pipeline project that would lead to thousands of jobs. According to him, and only him, very few jobs would be created. Must be nice to be omniscient.

    July 30, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. mbsmith91

    tnsurge........Let's face it people. Anything the President proposes, even if it is verbatim a Republican plan is going to be meet with opposition by McConnell, Boehner and associates. -------- No, stupid, the opposition party should just rubber stamp anything his highness proposes, despite the fact none of his ideas have been successful.

    July 30, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. Carl

    If it comes from Obama, it comes with plenty of strings attached – and don't forget his change at the last minute mentality too.

    July 30, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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