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. rapierpoint


    You forgot all the private contractors on the gov't dole, champ.
    Nice try. Doesn't work. A) the number of employees of the private contractors doesn't come close to being "double" as RudyNYC claimed, much less those specifically related to DHS. And b) technically a private contractors employees aren't even considered to be on the government payroll.

    July 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "You forgot all the private contractors on the gov't dole, champ."
    First of all, Skippy, your little minion Rudy specifically sayd GOVERNMENT PAYROLL. He is WRONG. You know it, you just won't admit it. Be that as it may. So Rudy needs to cite his sources as to where he gleaned this information from, otherwise he's going to be called out on it. I do think it's kinda cute how you try to cover for him, though. He does need the help.

    July 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. annieL

    Give it up, President Obama. Republicans not interested in creating jobs for the middle class, just in cutting taxes for the upper class and starving government so it can't do anything for the poor and those who would be middle class if they had higher education and good-paying jobs. And while I'm talking about lost causes, bring Secretary Kerry and his staff back from Israel. Those people don't want to make peace. They just want American money to arm themselves and continue lobbing bombs and missiles at each other.

    July 30, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Bill Smells

    Obama isn't bright enough to do something positive for the economy and jobs. It took him 6 years to think of this?

    July 30, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Realist

    Both parties are completely useless

    July 30, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Socalmcgraw

    Wow. Commentary sounds a lot like Congress. Everything is wrong, but no one stepping out with a solution that's worth a darn (something practical and non-partisan, please). We can't get to anything like that with the 'hate Obama' crowd (honestly it would be 'hate the person in the Whitehouse' - it's not necessarily a GOP thing). There's lots to do. Fix the national infrastructure. Figure out why jobs leave and bring them back (hint: it's not all about taxes (look where the jobs went - those countries have nation healthcare that save companies millions; not the low or no taxes). Quit tinkering with the tax code; it's not helpful.

    July 30, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. sparky

    Trueindependent is weapons grade stupid

    how did the US auto industry turn out?

    How did the stock market turn out


    July 30, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. anonymous

    I am getting REALLY tired of listening to republicans harp on about helping families when they are trying to dismantle the social services all but the super rich depend on.

    Yes people who are raising children have trouble doing so by themselves and no it is not absurd to ask that they receive help considering that in 50 years children today or younger are going to be our population.

    Cutting off infrastructure and social programs amounts to punishing people for having children. Far too many people practice or tolerate this attitude without seeing that by doing so they are making us no better than the Chinese government that has to approve of children being born or they cut families off from social programs.

    July 30, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Aerin

    Republicans don't want to govern, they want to drown government in the bathtub.

    Republicans are not qualified for office.

    July 30, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Anna

    The results are always the opposite of what he preaches. Hold on to your wallets, or what's left in them, this is bound to really decimate the middle class.

    July 30, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. MesaMax

    We are tired of this president proposing his short-term petty political agenda as "progress". It is time for this president to work with Congress, the peoples' representatives, to move this country forward. We have been falling backward since he came into office. And America suffers...................

    July 30, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. JJ

    As usual, the useless repealicans demonstrate their atrophied brains can only produce one word: "No."

    July 30, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. UDidntBuildThat

    Has anyone noticed that everything Obama ran against he is not for?
    Obama was against
    Big deficit spending
    Raising the debt ceiling
    Patriot Act
    Bailing out WS while main street suffers. (Wow check out stock market)
    High gas prices. (doubled & increasing everyday)
    Corporate tax breaks

    All the things that GWB did Obama took them and did them 10 times more. And the Dems that screamed during GWB's term are not A-OK with all of it.

    July 30, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. DaveL

    "Republicans signaled they would probably not support such a plan".... wow, what a surprise!

    July 30, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Two Party "System"

    A "Grand Bargain"? Only from Obama lapdog CNN!

    July 30, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. jamison

    Obama could find a cure for Cancer and the Republicans would turn it down.

    July 30, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. noneyo

    To anyone complaining he acts like he is running for office... look at the position he is in.

    Republicans are saying "our way or the highway, take it or we shut the country down" (something that NEVER happened to Bush but did happen to Clinton, which says volumes) and Obama has no choice but to ask that voters send them a message so that the country knows who is responsible for the gridlock. The number of filibusters has tripled in Obama's tenure as well as having as many stalled appointments to cabinet than the last 2 presidencies combined with half a term left to go for even more absurdities.

    Yes GOP, this gridlock is you. Dems could have caused every bit as much trouble as you have under W. Bush and they chose not to for the good of the country. Shame on you.

    July 30, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. us_1776

    The GOP Obstructionist 1%-er Tea Party Extremists in the House are not going to agree to anything.

    They have taken the GOP hostage.

    The GOP of Eisenhower days for all intents and purposes has ceased to exist.


    July 30, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. SeeThruIt2

    The main problem with the economy is the federal debt and annual deficits.

    As long as the Fed is buying up bonds (QE3) at a rate of up to 85 Billion per month, they are absorbing the annual U.S. deficit (up to $1.02 T per year) and keeping that U.S. debt from impacting the available global cash available for investment. This means that other corporate debt will receive lower interest rates fo rthe available cash.

    But, even the hint that the Fed was going to reduce or stop the bond buying was enough to send interest rates higher. That may be due to investors holding some of their available cash waiting for the impending yield increase that the increased total debt causes.

    President Obama's solution will maintain the current deficit level, while taking money out of corporations with the tax changes. This will not be good in the longterm.

    July 30, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Jeff

    What a joke this man has become, just go away

    July 30, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Goose66

    I'm tired of hearing about the "do nothing" Republicans. I understand its all in the way that you look at it, but it seems to me that the problem is not the President or the Republicans in the House, but Harry Reid's Senate that is the source of gridlock. The Republicans have passed a flurry of bills in the House, including tax reform, SS reform, repeal of Obama Care, a handful of budgets, and the like. Granted they knew that the Senate wouldn't take them up much less pass them, but they wrote and passed these all the same. And the President has proposed several initiatives in his campaign-style speeches and rallies that he continues to hold across the Country. But Harry Reid won't let anything come to the floor of the Senate that is Republican in origin, nor will he let any of the President's agenda come up for a vote if it means Democrat members voting for it will hurt them in their districts. Harry Reid is the "great obstructor" and I think it is time we all start laying blame where the blame truly belongs.

    July 30, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    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.
    That report only includes people directly on government payrolls. It omits the millions of government jobs being performed by contractors. Bush was big on privatizing stuff. Go back and to your reports and compare the number of people, or dollars, spent on contractors.

    For example, some of the security at many of the national monuments around DC is carried out by contractors, who do not show up in your figures.....But they used to before the jobs were privateized.

    July 30, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Christian Grey

    Obama keeps saying he is wanting to help the middle class. I thought I was in the middle class and so far nothing he has done seems to help me all I see is him helping those that work for the goverment and those that live off the goverment.

    July 30, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Aurora Chuck

    Five years into it and same old, same old. Blah blah blah blah blah blah!

    July 30, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. klur

    Instead of saying they will not pass anything the president proposes- let's hear their solution. How exactly are they going to " help families and small businesses" as Boehner's spokeman says? It's easy to criticize. Let's hear how exactly Republicans are going to help out the dwindling middle class. How are they going to help the small businesses? How are they going to help the skills gap developing in the US? I do not see them offering any help to anyone but big corporations. I know the theory that helping big corporations will help the economy and eventually trickle down to us middle class. But that has not happened in the last 2 decades. In fact, the opposite has happened. So what is the answer, Republicans??? Besides, we don't like what YOU LIBERALS are proposing!

    July 30, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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