July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
9 years 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. Will

    The middle class is dead. Might as well focus on the "working poor" class now.

    July 30, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. rapierpoint

    tom l.

    Am I crazy or did Obama try to take credit for Amazon creating new jobs? Wow.
    Maybe because they didn't build that, someone else made that happen. Guess he thinks he's the someone else. 🙂

    July 30, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Jesse


    The conservatives posting on here are sounding more desperate and crazy by the day. Their incoherent jabbering about "scandals" and "worst president ever" are just plain out of touch with the reality of the situation. Which makes their noise really, really annoying – I wouldn't mind reading some sane, meaningful points from the right, if only they had any.

    still better than the name calling by liberal democrats who whine about minimum wadge being so low at a job that requires no skill but want it to be as high as a E5 in the military.

    July 30, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. the rt side

    Really what did you except from a community organizer that never ran anything....or had to balance a budget ....he just knows how to spend ours not his money.How much has this guy spent on vacations alone.....

    July 30, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Larry

    Let's see – he first says he won't cut spending or talk about lowering or keeping the debt ceiling where it is, then wants to propose MORE government programs? A $trillion debt isn't enough?

    July 30, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    LostInAmerica wrote:

    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.
    If you live in a red state, then I can understand your frustration.

    But, what type of spending are you talking about? Your complaint lacks any specifics, which makes it sounds like right wing talking points coming from someone pretending something that they are not. Right wingers do that a lot around here.

    July 30, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    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.
    Biggest whopper you've come out with yet. Congratulations!!!!

    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2000 – 4,129,000
    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2008 – 4,206,000

    That's an increase of 77,000, or about 2% during Bush's tenure. Nowhere near a doubling. Source – U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    July 30, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Fred Evil

    "So the uncertainty of the ACA (Obamacare) has no effect on jobs and especially full time jobs?"
    Not for PEOPLE. Only for chicken-shiite businesses who are too timid and amoral to provide HEALTH INSURANCE to the people sustaining their existence!

    July 30, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "Now Obama wants to cut taxes on corporation its good now? "

    Oh brother. The overall effect he is proposing is to cut tax RATES but get rid of enough of the preferential deductions and loopholes that they receive that it at least makes up for it and, more likely, actually results in increased revenue to the gov't. Did you miss that part or are you just playing the game of being deliberately obtuse so you can make complaints that have no basis in reality?

    July 30, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Yikes

    Sign of a real amateur – "Grand Bargain" that will solve all of our problems 'today'. Someone give me the bucket, this Obama guy is making my stomach turn!

    July 30, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Repub insanity

    Repubs sound like my 3 year old nephew who says "no" to everything even if he wants it.... Except he has the excuse that he's 3!!! Repubs are just childish and absolutely insane!!!!

    July 30, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. TommytheT

    Dear American People,
    Smoke and Mirrors Smoke and Mirror

    More Govt spending of money we don't have all to pretend like the govt can create and maintain job growth. All in an attempt to further grow the Federal Govt and make even more and more people dependent on it, with no clue on how to pay for any new programs.

    July 30, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Carrie

    Will I totally agree with you!

    July 30, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. blake

    Obama has no grand bargains for anyone. Compulsive liar and deceiver. Big government, big spending, massive deficit, Marxist. Incompetent. Untrustworthy. No moral compass. Don't believe a word that comes out of this man's mouth.

    July 30, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. general

    what a waste of life libs are they cant even get jobs bc theyre the bottom of the barrel

    July 30, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Logic N LA

    Aside from the usual "we won't accept anything he says" post here, What is it about the Republicans? They campaigned in 2012 on the need for corporate tax cuts, now it's individual tax cuts. I would think the lobbyist they represent to LOVE those cuts. As for cutting individual taxes- already the second lowest in history, what will pay for all their salaries and perks?

    July 30, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. skarphace

    I Believe in God: Obama speaking about jobs? Oh! Wait the election is coming by.

    Oh, I know! Obama 2016! Woot!

    July 30, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. Jesse

    Repub insanity

    How can anyone still listen and believe the vitriol the repub spew anymore??? They have DONE NOTHING for 5 years but say NO to everything and they are destroying America!!! They are corporatists and elitists and actually believe that working poor people is a good thing!!!!

    How could you listen to our president lie out his mouth about how his way is the best way and everyone else is wrong. Hell he calls the US a Democracy when that isnt the case we are a REPUBLIC.

    July 30, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "Biggest whopper you've come out with yet. Congratulations!!!!

    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2000 – 4,129,000
    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2008 – 4,206,000

    That's an increase of 77,000, or about 2% during Bush's tenure. Nowhere near a doubling. Source – U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    You forgot all the private contractors on the gov't dole, champ.

    July 30, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Rebelyell

    The people who are paying the price for this "social...ist experiment " of the current administration are the young people and minorities who voted him in in the first place. Having to work three part-time jobs just to make a car payment is eventually going to get old and they are going to turn on their handlers. Hate to be in your shoes when that happens.

    July 30, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Az

    Frankly, we have had enough proposals from this guy. Thanks to his warped sense of values we have unchecked record breaking numbers of out of wedlock babies being born. Record breaking unemployment. Record breaking low home ownership, record number of jobs moved off shore. Record breaking discontent among working of want to be working Americans. and finally OBAMACARE a typical driving force behind these failures.

    July 30, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Charlottean

    Another grand load of tripe coming from a bunch of over dressed meat puppets.

    July 30, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. yogi

    the rt side
    Really what did you except from a community organizer that never ran anything....or had to balance a budget ....he just knows how to spend ours not his money.How much has this guy spent on vacations alone.....
    Perfect name and representation of the righties commenting here: Fox regurgitation. Rambling, without any sign of creative thinking, a litany of endlessly repeating the same distortion over and over again.

    July 30, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "You guys are like parrots. Perhaps you should actually watch Fox so you can get a different point of view. "

    I do. Know thy enemy. It's the most partisan, mendacious, stilted, biased, pre-scripted load of propagandist garbage on television, bar none. Yesterdays ridiculous display of attacking a world-class scholar for his book on Jesus just because he himself is a muslim really took the cake and was a fantastic example of Faux's constant mindless pandering schtick to the conservative religio-fascist education-hating underbelly of this country.

    July 30, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. LJ

    I am not sure how cutting the corporate tax rate equals new jobs. The number of jobs a company has would have more of a correlation to the number of potential sales it can make. I doubt that cutting the corporate rate will induce companies to hire more people than they need. Maybe the thought is that it would lead to more investment, which in turn, would lead to new hiring. However, I doubt that most companies impacted are large enough to be in that type of mode. They may indeed invest the money but may be able to handle this investment with the current number of employees. Should the increase in investment drive a general increase in purchasing goods and services there may be an increase in temporary jobs or entry level jobs, but the impact to middle class or higher jobs would seem to be minimal. As an example: would a cut in corporate taxes increase the number of cars sold so that Ford would hire more people to open a new plant ? I doubt it. A new plant would requier a minimum of about 250,000 sales . Otherwise they handle it with overtime.

    July 30, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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