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. 2real

    Its really not that hard to figure out. When you cut the corporate tax rate, hey, they now have more money to hire more employees. Hence more people making money and paying taxes so it balances out.

    July 30, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Tim

    Hey Obama, how about explaining how well your policies worked out in Detroit?

    July 30, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. skarphace

    fhelms: Do the Pipeline Dummy!

    I don't care on which side the aisle you sit, the Keystone Pipeline is a horrible idea. If you are on the left, it is a bad idea because it is terrible for the environment because it would leak toxins into fresh water aquifers across the Midwest and further pollute the air in Texas. If you are on the right, it is a bad idea because it gives private property rights over to a foreign company, which is government overreach.

    Why do you support it? Because of the hundreds of full-time and thousands of temporary jobs it would create? Not worth it, not by a long shot.

    July 30, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. Peter Q Wolfe

    Will anybody besides me call their representatives in Congress on supporting the President? Honestly this is ridiculous that infrastructure isn't being done with civil engineers and unskilled labor at all time highs that this is a sensible proposal by the President. Conservatives are being lazy bureauccrats by doing nothing for the typical american in their tenure in office. Tired of the games because of the radical elements in the republican party just can't seem to realize that they lost in 2012 and will continue to lose with their radical agenda in 32014 and 2016!

    July 30, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Jimmy

    Bush and Ombama, both lawyers.
    Same with members of Congress, mostly lawyers!
    And now we have a law professor for POTUS?
    Lawyers not solve problems, they trianed to propetuate them.
    Quit electing them!

    July 30, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. rapierpoint

    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?
    --------
    I don't know. Seems fair. We pay (give some benefits) to the unemployed without even requiring they attempt to get a job.

    July 30, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Lauradet

    If the proposal is longer than 15 pages the GOP will still cry about it. They like to "DO NOTHING" and get paid for it.

    July 30, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. NorCalMojo

    Because the grandstanding strategy has worked so well for him.

    July 30, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. whitepine

    I thought the rich were already creating jobs. Why are we giving the rich and corporations more tax breaks and subsidies to create jobs? What are they doing with their billion dollar profits? I see fast food workers aren't getting it. I agree with the comment....let the free market create jobs. At least Obama is talking and showing ways to create jobs. Where is Congress using taxpayers' money creating jobs? Oh, yes, they are on vacation again????? Since your Congressman is home on vacation, call him and ask them where are the jobs and since Obamacare is the law, how can you get some health care? Don't let them just ask you for more campaign money....ask them to spend a little money your way.

    July 30, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    There seems to be some confusion on a certain issue. Maybe I can simplify this: Bill Clinton Economy= Good. George W. Bush Economy= Bad.

    July 30, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. James Napoli

    Republicans in congress are truly the party of no. No to the middle class. They offer no solutions. Just obstacles. The loser: America

    July 30, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. Name

    I would not trust that suck

    July 30, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. rapierpoint

    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.
    ------------–
    You do realize that it is entirely possible to get a general impression based on a basic outline or synopsis. The article has enough info to at least get an idea of what the "bargain" is all about. It's not like the President said "I've got an idea that involves corporate taxes and job investment" and every GOP said "I don't think so".

    July 30, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Keith

    As everyday passes I find more and more that Republicans and the people that vote for them are just plain out of touch. I have voted about 50/50 Republican/Democrat in the past but am starting to heavily lean Democrat. The Republicans have made no effort, none, to help the economy. Or the nation in general for the matter. It seems there only goal in life is to block whatever the Democrats try to do, no matter how good the policy is. I think that's the problem, the Democrats have very good ideas and want to try to make things better and if they got their way it would be very popular, so the Republicans do what they can to block it. WHAT EVER HAPPEN TO FOR THE COMMON GOOD!

    July 30, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. SC

    I am sick to death of the posters who claim Obama has done nothing to improve the economy. My home is up for sale right now and we are getting excellent bids, if it weren't for people going back to work and feeling more secure, this wouldn't be happening. I stand behind the President because I think he is doing an excellent job, in spite of the bashers and obstructionists, who seem to want us all to go over the edge.

    July 30, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. r_rasmussen

    This is a joke right? This is no Grand Bargain and all the same scam. They tell you they are cutting corporate taxes but don't tell you that your insurance tax and other taxes will make up for taxes they lose. Then will tax the people more cause they are not making enough to pay off their never ending spending that all they ever truly know. This again is no Grand Bargain but a political ploy and a voter scam...

    July 30, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Wake up People!

    I bet if the POTUS were to speak about suicide today, condemning it and hoping no one ever took their own life again, by nightfall there would be mass suicides by a certain group of males.

    I'm still trying to figure out when we became us vs them, could it have been January 20, 2009?

    July 30, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. me

    obama
    let me tax corporations
    so i can have a slush fund for union jobs to work on infrastructure
    and reward those unions that will go forth and campaign for the dems in 2014

    yeah obama, we are that stupid, you already pulled this once, y u think we wont fall for it again

    July 30, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

    "The so-called "grand bargain" is being made in an attempt to break partisan gridlock currently plaguing attempts to pass deficit-reducing budget plans, though congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan"

    The GOP are just a bunch of traitors, plain and simple. Pathetic.

    July 30, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. ialsoagree

    @2real

    Except it doesn't work that way at all.

    Example:

    Corporation produces 1000 widgets a year. In a year, people buy exactly 900 widgets. Corporation reduces it's work force and production down to 900 widgets. Government decreases taxes on corporation. Corporation doesnt' employ any more people because it is producing exactly as much as it needs to already. Government defecit increases.

    Example 2:

    Corporation produces 1000 widgets a year. There is demand for 2000 widgets a year. Government does NOT decreases taxes on corporation. Corporation works to increase capacity through new innovations and hiring more personnel. Corporation produces 2000 widgets a year, meeting demand, raising revenue and profits, and employing more people – all without a tax decrease.

    July 30, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    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.

    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.
    ------------------------–
    Do you know how Bush pulled the country out of the recession at the beginning of his first term? Spending. He spent billions upon billions building a second Defense Department called Department of Homeland Security. Why is this significant? The number of people on the government payrolls nearly doubled under Bush, mainly because of DHS.

    Today. DHS has grown into a $100+ billion conglomerate of more than 40 departments, employing roughly 500 countractors, with contracts worth at least 100 million dollars each annually. Be it by accident or design, this explosion of government hiring masked the exodus of 8 million manufacturing jobs during the Bush years.

    July 30, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. JJ

    Lies and more lies

    July 30, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Bob Hope's Ghost

    There is no such thing as full time jobs what with obamcare scrwing everyone

    July 30, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. LostInAmerica

    I am a Democrat. I am a Liberal. I work for a community college. I have seen first hand how tax payer's dollars are squandered through inept and incompetent management. I can not in good concience support any plan that throws tax dollars at a problem that exists solely because of stupidity.

    July 30, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    My10Cents

    Republicans will still say "No" because they are cornered by the Tea party into wanting and needing the economic and political chaos as the platform for the next round of elections
    -------------------------------------------------
    I agree with you 100% except for one small but signinficant distinction: the Tea Party and the Republican Party have morphed into one. They are one and the same.
    It is just that those that are still relatively sane are allowing those with wealthier backers, and deeper, overflowing political coffers to call the shots, even though they are intransigent, irrational and idiotic.

    July 30, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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