July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
12 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. rad666

    "Deposed Egyptian leader gets visitor"

    The same Amazon that is fighting sales tax for items sold online, thus preventing revenue for states?

    July 30, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Gunderson

    Well, Good Buddy,
    Me from Missouri. You will have to show me. From reading your proposel(s) it looks like I just get crumbs. Your last "Grand Bargin" looked like big screw job. I have idea. Repeal Obama Care, extend all Bush Tax Cuts for at least 10 more years, then we talk.

    July 30, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. ATM

    I am game to cut corprate tax rates as long as loop holes are closed so that corprate welfare ceases to exsist. If all these mega corporations were paying taxes instead of receiving tax refunds we would all be better off. This includes stopping the off shoring of their money to prevent paying taxes in the country that helped make them a mega corporation. God forbid we feed and house the elderly, poor, and disabled. By the way, I am not an extreme leftist. I believe in random drug testing for those who are drawling from government resources such as: welfare and food stamps, congressional pay, city officials, prosecuters, judges, police officers, anyone who receives any public tax money...whether it is public assistance, hourly pay, or salary.

    July 30, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. inestyne

    Why don't reporters actually report on the facts of the matter? This bill is being used slide in a giant pork barrel infrastructure project. Not sure i'm against that, but it would be nice to here ALL the facts for a change?

    July 30, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Jim

    Just keep printing money to give the illusion the garbage you're doing is actually working Obama.

    Nothing to see here, please move along.

    July 30, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. BarryG

    I'm sure if the corporate taxes go down, Dems will push for individual taxes to go up on the rich, a.k.a. anyone making over $50,000 will be the benchmark.

    July 30, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Steveo

    @Jarmeel Whitting

    Republicans could care less about American progress their concerns lies strictly with less taxes and abortions. It wasn't that long ago when a person who claimed to be pro-life and advocated for the death penalty would be called "A FOOL" now their called "REPUBLICANS".
    ----------–
    Poor example as they are not the same. As a Christian I understand the abilty for human governments to mete out justice, to include the death penalty is ordained by God. Not true with abortion! I also understand God gives us the ability to make choices. We all know there are crimes that will lead to death row. Somehow that knowledge does not stop some from committing those very crimes. On the other hand, no baby has exhibited any behaviors worthy of abortion!

    July 30, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Data Driven

    "Revolution is coming watch and see"

    Well, we're all just shaking in our boots, Bill Buckner.

    Anyway, to the article: Obama continues to mystify by incessantly pursuing "grand bargains" with Republicans. Dude: they hate you. Just pass whatever you can by executive fiat and be done with it.

    July 30, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Przemek

    Obama simply doesn't get it. He never has and he never will. His socialist approach to governing is stronger than any sensible free market approach. Government can't mandate what jobs are going to be created! It is the market that will decide what jobs are needed based on customer needs.
    -------------------–
    So why does the right wing fault Pres. Obama so for not creating jobs and fixing the economy that they very nearly destroyed?

    July 30, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Mec

    Cmon people! The President can't magically create well paying corporate jobs... He needs to do less campaigning and more EU relatiions. Oh wait, he screwed that up already...

    July 30, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. rapierpoint

    rs -
    To be fair- proper corporate tax reform (i.e. lower rates, no loopholes) will result in an increase in corporate tax revenues- this has been long known. Likewise, getting 2 million people back into the workforce, and paying income, social security taxes, etc. will be good for revenue and further stimulate the economy- the only way to tackle the debt issue effectively. The budget deficit is down 50%. While this isn't sure fire, it's the best time to try such a plan.
    ------------–
    I just find it interesting that this "grand bargain" is essentially what the Republicans have been saying for years and years, and the Democrats have opposed tooth and nail. So why the flip? Is the President saying he was wrong and the Republicans were right?

    July 30, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. eagerliving

    rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama has no concept of how much his policies have killed jobs. No concept whatsoever.
    ______________________
    Given that more jobs were created under Mr. Obama than in 8 years under Bush, apparently you don't either.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Given that Bush had exactly ONE MONTH where unemployment was was over 7% (most of his presidency, it was below 6%) and Obama has NEVER been less than 7.6%, your comment makes no sense. We didn't have a jobs issue when Bush was pres.

    July 30, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. vbscript2

    "The so-called "grand bargain" is being made in an attempt to break partisan gridlock currently plaguing attempts to pass deficit-reducing budget plans"

    Ummm... since when does cutting taxes and increasing spending reduce the deficit? Oh, right. It doesn't.

    July 30, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Here2Opine

    Obama & bargain in the same sentence? Ya'll just made me spit tea on my keyboard. Very, very funny article.

    July 30, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. rs

    Gunderson

    Well, Good Buddy,
    Me from Missouri. You will have to show me. From reading your proposel(s) it looks like I just get crumbs. Your last "Grand Bargin" looked like big screw job. I have idea. Repeal Obama Care, extend all Bush Tax Cuts for at least 10 more years, then we talk.
    ----------–
    Well, Gundy, you must be a member of the 1 % with a bad plan like that one. Get it yet? The only people who got real tax relief over the past 12 years? The rich. The only people whose income went up over the last 12 years? The rich. The only people whose personal wealth grew over th past 12 years? The rich. The jobs with the greatest growth in salary? CEOs- 220%.
    Heavens to Betsy- we can't help out the majority of Americans can we?

    July 30, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Jesse

    rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama has no concept of how much his policies have killed jobs. No concept whatsoever.
    ______________________
    Given that more jobs were created under Mr. Obama than in 8 years under Bush, apparently you don't either.

    I call BS on this statement its a false report... MORE PEOPLE STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK and the jobs made are not full time jobs, they are part time at minimum wadge.

    July 30, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Puddin

    The "so-called" Repub leaders and Tea Partiers seem to decide before the president even puts a suggestion out there that "No; it won't work." I sincerely hope these clowns are soundly voted out next time around. They have done nothing but stop this country from moving forward since Obama won the presidency. He won fair and square, and he's received not an iota of respect from these clicks. I can still see McConnell standing before the mic saying "Let's not do anything to help him win another term." Well, guess what; he won another term because he said that and then carried out such behavior. It's has got to be racist. They don't seem to view the big picture. There is always consequences when negative behavior is chosen in any situation. They don't seem to get it that people who are suffering due to their decisions will be first in line at the polls. Dumb and dumbers.

    July 30, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Jimmy

    Would you really trust a President who passed the ACA without any republican support.
    Sorry, he's posioned the well..............

    July 30, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. rosethornne

    Ugh.
    No more corporate welfare.
    Why should we pay businesses to stay in business? Isn't that contrary to that whole precious Free Market thing?

    July 30, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. rapierpoint

    RudyNYC

    So why does the right wing fault Pres. Obama so for not creating jobs and fixing the economy that they very nearly destroyed?
    -------------
    Please don't drink the kool-aid. The blame of the near collapse of the economy falls on many, many shoulders, and quite a few are *not* right wing. There was significant effort from both sides (or lack of oversight) that led to the economic problems.

    July 30, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. fhelms

    Do the Pipeline Dummy!

    July 30, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. skarphace

    "Congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan."

    Oh, what a surprise! You mean they have decided to vote against his plan before even hearing what it is? Sounds like business as usual in do-nothing Congress.

    July 30, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. I Believe in God

    Obama speaking about jobs? Oh! Wait the election is coming by. That is the only time he speaks about job and makes his sheep happy....

    July 30, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. rapierpoint

    rs
    Well, Gundy, you must be a member of the 1 % with a bad plan like that one. Get it yet? The only people who got real tax relief over the past 12 years? The rich. The only people whose income went up over the last 12 years? The rich. The only people whose personal wealth grew over th past 12 years? The rich. The jobs with the greatest growth in salary? CEOs- 220%.
    Heavens to Betsy- we can't help out the majority of Americans can we?
    -----------–
    Then I must be one of the 1% or the rich. NOT! However, I did get tax relief over the past 12 years, my personal wealth grew. Significant growth in salary (not quite 220%, but in the ballpark) and I'm not a CEO. So your statements about "only the rich" are demonstrably incorrect. BTW, I guess the President and Democrats have it all wrong as part of their plan is to extend at least some of the Bush tax cuts permanently.

    July 30, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Rich Edwards

    Just wow, the Repubs are literally the ones causing the majority of people to NOT have jobs and those people that say boo hoo obama, cut this, that and this. Has your corporate leaders really brainwashed that many people. Answer, yes.

    July 30, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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