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. CPA

    As I said in my previous post on here (page 8) everyone here is hung up on tax rates. Tax Rates are not the problem, the problem is what the effective tax rates people are paying after deductions. The effective tax rates are far below what is supposed to be paid.

    July 30, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. rs

    Bill Smells

    Obama isn't bright enough to do something positive for the economy and jobs.
    And yet in 5 years he made more jobs than Bush did in 8.

    July 30, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. simon-sez

    Republican reaction to the proposl sez it all. Btw, where are the republican proposals for good job creation? If they have one, where the hell is it? Funny how republicans point their bony fingers spewing vile. I think they enjoy watching people being tormented.

    July 30, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Portland tony

    Of course it makes sense for corporate America to keep workers wages and benefits as low as possible to be competitive in world markets. Problem is with low wages here is Americans can't afford the products they produce so they go after the competing imports which are ironically rising in price because of the increased wage demand in foreign manufacturing facilities. Look at China today where huge plants where american companies have invested now lie idle because Americans just can't afford their products any longer. Old Henry Ford saw the fallacy in this policy when he automated his plants, but paid a high enough wage that enabled his employees to purchase the cars they made. You can manufacture all kinds of things here in America or abroad but if no one can buy your stuff, you go out of business....huh?

    July 30, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. rs

    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.
    And certainly Mr. McConnells 446 filibusters in the Senate have no bearing whatsoever, right? McConnell filibustered his own bill for pity's sake! Get a clue.

    July 30, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. JJ236

    Waiting six years to "talk" about this is a bit late to the party. Why did the O suddenly find that middle class jobs matter?

    July 30, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Aurora Chuck

    This is Obama's definition of insanity. Keep saying the same thing over and over for years and years and the low information voter might still believe it!

    July 30, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Steve

    I agree that cutting corporate rate may stimulate the economy, but just because you train someone for a particular skill does not mean the jobs will magically appear. First you must stimulate growth, which the President has been reluctant to do with any meaningful means. Stimulus is not the answer, been there, got nothing to show for it but empty promises.

    July 30, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. ialsoagree


    A lot of what you said is true, some of what you said not so much.

    Reid has allowed bills of Republican origin to reach the Senate floor. In addition – and perhaps more importantly – he's allowed many bills that were forged in bipartiasn compromise to rearch the Senate floor and many of them were passed with sweeping bipartiasn support.

    When it came to the House, however, the bills were DOA because Republicans refused to vote on them – even bills that Republican senators sponsored and wrote in the Senate!

    How you can blame that on the Senate is honestly baffling.

    The issue is that the House refuses to compromise. So even when the Senate writes bills with bipartisan support that have compromises on both sides of an issue, the House's response is "no, either give me everything I want or we won't pass anything."

    The House is like a child throwing a temper tantrum. They just want to get their way on every issue with no compromises or they refuse to do any work at all.

    July 30, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. bob smetters

    Hmmm the GOP opposes cutting taxes because it is a revenue increase in disguise? I thought that they always argued for cutting taxes to grow revenue...Watta joke....

    July 30, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. JV

    Please please not touch anything mr president. I dont think the country can take anymore of your agenda, and grossly bad ideas. The country has suffered enough under your inexperience, and bad judgement. Just sit and enjoy your last term golfing. I doubt many will argue.

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


    Obama has been pushing for job bills since he entered office. There have been at least 2 major attempts by his administration to push for large job bills that would have focused on improving infrastructure in the US and creating construction and manufacturing jobs to help the economy.

    On both occassions, Republicans in the House refused to compromise on the issues and rejected any additional funding for infrastructure or manufacturing funding – even if that funding was paid for through other means.

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

    here we go again the party of no.why do people vote republican? baffles me!!!!!

    July 30, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. ialsoagree


    You seem to be a little bit confused. The Obama administration has proposed bills on at least 2 occassions that would provide funding for construction jobs by improving infrastructure throughout the US, and would support manufacturing jobs.

    Both bills were rejected by House republicans who refused to compromise on any part of the bill – including finding funding for the proposed expenditures so they wouldn't increase the national debt.

    July 30, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    "And yet in 5 years he made more jobs than Bush did in 8"?

    Really......... Why do we think the POTUS has anything to do with the economy?

    Correlation is not necessary connection....it's just talking points

    July 30, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. brunojo

    Bill Smells

    Obama isn't bright enough to do something positive for the economy and jobs.
    And yet in 5 years he made more jobs than Bush did in 8.

    More jobs than Bush? Are you out of your mind? Obama created some jobs but there all government jobs that do nothing to generate revenue. When Bush left office the unemployment rate was at 4.4 %. The current unemployment rate. is 8.8 % double what Bush had when he left office.

    July 30, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. wny

    No matter what idea Obama had, the GOP will oppose. Their solution is do nothing and criticize

    July 30, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Oh I know....

    How about putting the DOD federal employees back to full time? How's that for a grand bargain? You know, pay them what you agreed to.

    July 30, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Jesse


    "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.

    Really look up most biased news network

    July 30, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Ron

    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (cut taxes, spend more)

    That is literally insanity.

    The potus needs to stop appeasing crazy, lazy and greedy and start doing what he was elected to do. If they block everything he does then let them. Let the voters take care of that problem. The crazier they look the better.

    July 30, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Bubba Ray

    The Republicans said no? I never would have expected that.

    July 30, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. JP

    Obama...here is the only way government policy can CREATE jobs.....ELIMINATE ALL corporate Taxes and REDUCE government regulation on the job creators

    July 30, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |

    The investments of Obama's "stimulus" cost taxpayers only $275,000 per job created or saved. We need more jobs like these. (CBO data is on Google).

    July 30, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. yeahright

    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.


    That's true.

    Between 2000 and 2005 procurement spending rose 86%. Under Bush .40 cents of every discretionary dollar spent went to private contractors. From the Office of Oversight and Government Reform.

    July 30, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Ben Coates

    Only 44.7 of working age Americans have full-time jobs. Wow! Obamacare and the endless budget battles, from debt ceilings to threats of government shutdowns to fiscal cliffs to sequestration, has crushed hiring - along with corporate greed. The way to create jobs is to punish companies for not creating them, creating thousands of Federal jobs and sticking corporate America with the bill by raising corporate taxes.

    July 30, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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