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. Barolo

    It won't work because they don't trust him. If he were interested in real job creation he would have started this from day 1. Instead he has done nothing but attack the job creators. I don't trust him either and his one sided comments on racial issues has left me no longer interested in listening to him.

    July 30, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Durka Durka

    "Grand Bargain." I wonder if that's the new "Shovel Ready."

    July 30, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    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.
    You just blasted tax cuts and spending as the means to stimulate a slow economy. That leaves only one other path, spending cuts, which we know does only one thing; suck money out of the economy.

    July 30, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. rs

    You guys are like parrots. Perhaps you should actually watch Fox so you can get a different point of view. So silly. Perhpas you could actually take the time to listen and understand a conservative or liberatarian point of view so you can better educate yourself rather than listening to what Obama tells you.
    Perhaps if FOX dealt in FACTS. As they only serve to be the Republican echo chamber of "aren't we great" it serves no purpose but to allow birtherism, polls are inaccurate, anti-science, anti-environmentalism, Benghazi-gate, IRS-gate and other fallacies to float around. Watching FOX is an embarrassment of stupidity. Sort of like Steven Colbert reported as real news (except ofcourse FOX has long ago aoutsripped Colbert on the crazy meter).
    If you seriously equate FOX with "conservative" you might as well believe in bigfoot and aliens.

    July 30, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Jimh77

    No short term fixes and no long term fixes. Just a lot of Air coming from the mouth.

    July 30, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. DaveinIL

    Key phrase is "investing in programs that could put more Americans in well paying, full-time jobs". That's code for bribes to unions to support Democrats.

    July 30, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Barolo

    Lets hear the details of this "job investment". If its anything like the stimulus, it means more cash to his unions and voting base. No thanks!

    July 30, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. WillyNilly

    It really doesn't matter what the President offers, the Republicans have a single strategy and that is to say no to everything. While they're so busy trying to scuttle his presidency, they are scuttling themselves. Over the years there are a number of congress members who have their names placed on historic legislation. Not so in this congress. Each member should have an asterisk next to their name that indicates they failed as representatives and they failed the country.

    July 30, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. DustyOnes

    Lower it to 15% and he can make an impact.

    July 30, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. fletcher

    All lowering corporate tax rates will do is enable them to offshore thier manufacturing even faster. Its free money to move to china.

    July 30, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. omeany

    Of course the GOP is against it. They have proclaimed themselves to be against anything that might make the President look good. For the sake of our country the GOP has to go.

    July 30, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. bcw

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOO to Obama. Loud and Clear. Any question, American people?

    July 30, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. QS

    Yay, more corporate welfare for businesses that are making obscene amounts of profit and need no more incentive but get it anyway.

    And the cycle continues. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

    July 30, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. George Santos

    When Obama wants to help America's agonizing middle class, something is wrong.

    July 30, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Garrett from Texas

    So let me get this straight (using just this article's information)....

    Republicans claim that Obama is only announcing this plan to get headlines that he has "a grand bargain".

    The White House's Gene Sperling said to reporters on a conference call to reporters that the point of informing them wasn't to "go into details" about what is new but to inform them that "the President has a grand bargain".

    So....the Republican's accusation is correct?

    July 30, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. OK

    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.

    Where did you pull those figures out of?

    In January of 2009. the unemployment rate was 7.6%. It is currently 7.6%. The last time it was anywhere near 4.4% was late 2006/early 2007 and it went on a steady climb from there.

    July 30, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Step 1: Radicalize yourselves in response to losing the election in 2008.
    Step 2: Promise never to give the new POTUS a "win" and to prevent him from ever helping the economy so that you can blame a lingering bad economy on him.
    Step 3: Never enact or allow jobs legislation to pass Congress.
    Step 4: Receive offer from POTUS to give you something you've been demanding for years and years.
    Step 5: Refuse it anyway and manufacture all sorts of hypocritical and hyperbolic excuses for it.
    Step 6: Enjoy the backlash from the majority of the public, who sees through your radicalized partisan shenanigans.

    Obama's playing you like fiddles, GOPers. Have fun with that.

    July 30, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. GP

    lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% may tax corporations less, but it also reduces the tax shield that investors experience when the corporation borrows money, so essentially this is reducing the tax for the higher earning corporation at the expense of higher taxes for the lower earnings investors.

    July 30, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOO to Obama. Loud and Clear. Any question, American people?"

    Yes, just one: can you justify refusing Obama's offer to give the GOP something it's been demanding for decades?

    I'll betcha neither you nor the GOP/Teatrolls can manage that feat....and, what's more, I'll betcha Obama knew it when he made the offer.

    July 30, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. why

    Obama: Look folks, I have a special deal for you! I will give you a tax breaks, great workers, and plenty of work space if you set up your company in Detroit or San Bernardino, Ca.

    July 30, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    brunojo wrote:

    .... 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.
    The lies the right wing tells are boundless, I tell you.

    When Bush left office on Jan 20, 2009, unemployment was at 7.8%, and we were losing over 750,000 jobs per month. The current unemployment rate is 7.6%, and new numbers from July are due on Friday.

    July 30, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. lionhart

    "congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan" – Imagine That. Anyone surprised?

    July 30, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Jeb

    Doesn't matter what Obama proposes, the GOP will only obstruct.

    July 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Wake up People!

    I agree with Data Driven, it's time for President Obama to realize they hate him and nothing he could do would change that. He has Executive Orders and now is the time to use them. Anytime a party says No before even reading the proposal, you know there's a problem. Here's an idea Mr. President, speak out about $u!c!de and the horrors of said action and wait for the news reports of a certain group doing it en masse.

    July 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Mark

    Future skill gaps?? How about all of the engineers like my self that cant find jobs now to pay student loans because all of the work is in india or china? The only jobs that can make a living in this country are Doctors and Insurance companies. Looks like Obama is even trying to cut Doctors out of the honey pot so now that only leave the one group that runs washington..The insurance companies!

    July 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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