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. Ken in MO

    Reply to Tim

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

    Apparently you know nothing about economics. Please stop watching FoxNews. It is shocking to me...he has given the Republicans exactly what they asked for several times and they still turn him down. They should all be impeached for treason...they are trying their darndest to make sure this country collapses. They caused this mess. They are very sick and immoral people....led by dingbats, drug addicts and pedofiles!

    July 30, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    The jobs potential cited for the Keystone pipeline is a bogus, badly inflated figure and in any case, many of the jobs are specialized and will disappear when the construction is done. Coupled with the fact that using tar sands as a source for crude oil creates tons of CO2, its transport requires the use of toxic additives to promote flow and pipelines always rupture at some point in their service life, the Keystone pipeline project is bad for the economy and bad for the environment.

    I fear, however, that Obama will again develop round heels and fall over backward in face of the proponents of the project. These proponents are those who will gain financially at the expense of the environment and do not have to live with the potential toxic mess that will happen when (when, not if) the miserable pipe splits a seam.

    July 30, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. shorething

    Companies have been hoarding cash and have been doing well enough that they dont need their taxes cut. They already have enough tax loopholes they can avoid paying and they have the resources to hire and pay them. There is no need for more of Obama's ideas that only work on paper and not real life. Most companies are flush with cash and no idea what to do with it.

    July 30, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Ktrostel

    "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."

    Keep drinking the coolaid Lauradet. Glad to see you can think for yourself.

    July 30, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. CPA

    One of the main problems of this countries is the Tax
    code and neither party is doing anything about it. I am an accountant with my
    CPA, and I partake in what is effectively wrong with this country. Yes our corporate
    tax rate is at 15-35% but with all of the deductions companies aren’t paying
    anything close to that. The company that I work for made over $150 million and
    paid an effective tax rate of 14.6% (if no deductions were taken we would of
    paid 32%, that is about a 26 million dollar difference). My parents who made
    over $30 million paid a whopping 12% effective tax rate.

    As for corporate tax rate, I feel the corporate tax rate is
    too high and that might be driving away businesses but if you lowered it by
    5-10% and closed a majority of the loopholes so companies would be paying closer
    to the rate they are supposed to that would generate more revenue for the government
    to close the deficit.

    Now for personal tax rates I feel the tax rates are good
    but the problem here is just deductions. Using my parents for example they should
    have been paying about a 39% tax rate, but even if you don’t close all of the
    deductions(which you shouldn’t) you should just limit them to a few. My parents
    tax rate would of jumped up to about 27% if I took out capital gains(something
    that severely needs to be looked at).

    July 30, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Data Driven

    @skarphace,

    All very excellent reasons. But the only real reason conservatives are for Keystone is because Obama has expressed skepticism about it. It's the only reason that matters to them. It's impossible to have a logical debate with most of these people when their actuating inspiration appears to be reckless hate.

    July 30, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. Corporate America

    Great I still get to watch my profit margins rise by purchasing the next crop of american sellouts who shelter my illegal price fixing business monopolies like my favorite change monger here (blink blink)

    July 30, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Peach

    Wow--6 years later--he still can't figure out what he's doing. This guy is worse than Mr. Magoo.

    July 30, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Early reaction from Republicans to the outlines of Obama's plan was not receptive. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner cast the proposal as old news."

    Oh, absolutely ... obstruction is the name of the game. We've all known GOPerville game rules since, well ... January 2009 when Mr. Mitch McConnell was kind of nice and all giggly and such when he let it be known HIS agenda had nothing to do with regular, every day Americans. Of course, there was also John Boehner screaming "hell-no" at the top of his lungs for any camera willing to document his "disdain" at each and every proposal this President put forth .... including those that Mr. Ronald Reagan himself would have given a hearty thumbs up to.

    So yeah ... it's old news set on a broken spin cycle of GOPerville doom and gloom, and misery, and tough luck talk directed at all Americans living in the America GOPerville pretends to love which such tear jerking devotion.

    Makes one want to, well ... laugh in contempt.

    July 30, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Ron

    This is the same math that got us into trouble the first time. I wish he and everyone else would stop bowing to corporations. All they do with the saved tax money is put it in the pockets of the executives and investors. Wallstreet success is not based on how much they make, it's how much MORE they made than last time. This means there will never be enough for them. We need to stop appeasing them and start working for the people that work for them. The people that actually do the work.

    This formula of take in less while we spend more has only one mathimatical outcome. We can take in less and spend less, we can take in more and spend more, or we can take in more and spend less. All of those are sustainable. Instead we chose to do the only one that is not. And we do it in order to line the pockets of those who need it least while we demonize those who need it most. Taxes are a necessary evil, deal with it.

    If you dont want to pay taxes then stop making money.

    July 30, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. MeanOldMan

    Lets see, cut taxes and increase spending. Haven't we been there before with less than stellar results. The idea that giving more money to corporations is going to create jobs is nonsense. They are sitting on trillions in cash reserves right now and if that theory worked they would be hiring.

    July 30, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Jack Rivera

    What are we going to manufacture, that we don't do now and not be temporary?

    July 30, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Jack

    I am an inventor and the President has been trying for a 4 years to get the patent laws changed so small inventors have a level playing field.

    Right now the initial cost is $1,500 to $,3000 for a patent pending, the an additional $3,000 to $7,000 to get a patent.

    Then it's whoever has the most money to fight for the patent wins. The little guy loses out! The President has been trying to change for 4 years and the Republicans have blocked the Small Business legislation that would help that situation.

    So, I call "Foul" on you Mr. Boehner's! For once do the right thing, sit down and talk to the President, put the country ahead of politics.

    July 30, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. john beechy

    there is no evidence that the corporations will hire workers at a wage that reflect in any federal taxes being paid, beyond the social security w/holding of 15% – the Stupid GOP have to learn that once a business has bought all the equipment they need – they just keep making profits and still have yet to take that $2 trillion off their balance sheets and add more workers.
    In case the GOP don't understand simple math – a business that doesn't hire more workers or give their workers a raise don't increase the federal tax coffers – Fact. all proceeds of dividends and carried thru interest are at lower tax rates than the corporate tax rate (leave the corporate tax rates in pace until they pay the tax on all world wide revenue).

    July 30, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. this

    "President Barack Obama will offer a new proposal Tuesday that would cut corporate taxes"

    Does anybody who voted for him still think he isn't a corporate stooge?

    July 30, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. Chris

    @ 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."

    This would be true if the companies decided to hire more workers. The company could also just decide to give a bigger bonus to the executive team, or pay out larger dividends to the stock holders, or they might just sit on the cash. More often than not this is what large companies do with more money. Now small business on the other hand actually hire people

    July 30, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Guest

    More like "grand theft."

    July 30, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Rogue351

    And what exactly will the GOP Tea Party do ? They will do what they always do they will say it will not work, it is not good for America, Obama is a bad president, on and on and on. More of the same old. Will they offer a better solution ? NO. Will they sit down and look at places the idea might be improved ? NO All they will do is compain. Get these bumps out of office before the ruin America. Revoke their life time retirment benifit and healthcare because these bums didnt earn a dime of it.

    July 30, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Tom1940

    Why here? Why now? and where the hell were you Mr. President, some 4+ years ago, when instead of Healthcare, you should have been focused on getting Private Sector Jobs jump started and most all of your (and the countries) financial and economic "woes" would have been fading memories now! Instead, you lead the country "off through the weeds", as usual, making promised you couldn't keep (or had no intention of keeping in the first place), and here we are today: "You promising to make a "Grand Scheme" – to placate the Republicans in Congress to get a Continuing Resolution passed to continue out of control borrowing and spending. Way to go Barry!!!!! True to form. A mouth full of empty promises and nothing to back it up, or follow up with in the way of positive results.

    July 30, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. dt

    Lowering taxes DOES NOT CREATE JOBS!!!!! HOW MANY TIMES do we need to learn this???!?!?!?!!?

    July 30, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. john beechy

    also don't forget that ALL HIRING OF WORKERS IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE – so if the businesses want to pay less corporate tax all they have to do is hire more workers (as the full wage and benefits of the workers lowers the taxable income for that business – giving tax break doesn't include the tax rolls – proven by Reagan and Bush 1 and Bush 2 and every bimbo that pushed for tax cuts when all the evidence is that tax cuts don't increase tax revenue – they starve tax revenue – Stop being Stupid and Stop supporting stupid.
    do your own math and learn that taxes are necessary to pay for the overpriced (useless) F-35 fighter plane that will never make it past production (the stealth feature is not workable as carbon doesn't bend in 3 directions. like the f-35).

    July 30, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. bombastus

    The republicans will find something not to like even if it means putting more money into the pockets of their buddies. If Obama says the sun rises from the east, the GOP say no, it rises from the west. Everything is a fight and if republicans don't like a law, they block its funding. Bad government is a self-fulling prophecy for the GOP. Block funding and key appointments and the agency can't function…….hence, proof that government doesn't work. Bush II perfected this approach and the GOP caries on.

    July 30, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Dev

    Set the corporate taxe rate to %0.00 and watch the world's manufactureres come to the US to build their products. Make up the tax revenue with the massive increase in jobs.

    July 30, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. al

    And the usual reaction from republicans is to do what they have proven to be good at......nothing. What is the first word out of their mouths? No.

    July 30, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. eloc35

    So when Bush cut taxes dems/libs say it hurt the economy. Now Obama wants to cut taxes on corporation its good now? Obama is trying to do the same as bush, cut taxes and spend more money we don't have.

    July 30, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29