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. john

    The greatest joke of all this is that Obama have been president for 5 years

    July 30, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. metre

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

    And that is all you need to know folks. The President gives in to the ultra-right-wing-conservative-GOP-Tea-Party-fanatical-extremists 'demands'. They either say it is "not enough" since he has already shown weakness and so believe they can get more out of him (and they most likely can and will). Or, they will accept his giving in, take the cut in corporate tax RATES (since in actuality most corporations in the United States pay little to no ACTUAL taxes already anyway) and then ship the jobs promised by the "grand bargain" overseas and/or add more minimum wage, part-time, little to no benefits jobs that do not actually allow a living wage standard for individuals and then complain that the President is weak, unable to remain secure in his promises, and can't do anything about the economy.

    July 30, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Tim

    Mr. Obama, you are a "grand failure". Go back to playing golf and let the adults govern the country.

    July 30, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. stephen

    How stupid can Democrats be. He's touting LOWER CORPORATE TAX rates. Ummm, excuse me you say anything Democrats, but isn't this part of the 1% you losers were protesting the last 6 years. On top of it as the article states, it is the same old crap obama has been pushing for his entire presidency nothing new here. Just because he and the Lib media tell you it's a new bargain, doesn't make it so. No help for the working class and small business. Only helps himself to their money through ACA and other policies.

    July 30, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. columbus

    Washington is broken, and everyone there likes it that way, by blaming the "other" guy they don't have to make any divisive decisions that might threaten their cushy government job. The single mutually agreeable theme for anyone in Washington, to protect Washington Inc. at all costs, even if it means destroying liberties and diminishing our democracy. Washington exists for the sake of those who have access to it, that's called an oligarchy.

    July 30, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. oldmanriver

    Point of correction here. Roosevelt did create jobs during the depression. The CCC and WPA. Not to mention the Tennessee Valley Authority project, Boulder Dam. Yes by the time we entered the war, unemployment was still hovering around 19%. But FDR did get a lot of things accomplished though. Sometimes by literally locking some members of Congress and outside "experts" into a room, telling them that no one leaves the room until they come up with a solution. Lo and behold, they always seemed to magically find a way to solve something. FDR was also a master at not taking no for an answer when he wanted something done. He'd just tell people that he wanted something done like the CCC and to figure out how to make it work. The political process (or lack of) has changed a million times over since then. Too bad. Maybe if we applied the same methods that FDR used we might get some of this mess resolved. Would be nice to see the President lock people in a room, tell them that no one leaves or gets lunch/dinner until they come up with a solution. And to really motivate them, all cell phones, laptops and other gadgets get left at the door. When I was growing up, there were lots of times I didn't want to do things like cut grass or shovel snow. But when it came right down to it, the "old man" had a way of motivating me. it was called a good old fashioned kick in the rear. Too bad we can't all put our foot down, say enough is enough and demand that these clowns fix things. And if necessary lock them all in a room.

    July 30, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. ollie

    The Lying Kenyan is a GRAND FRAUD

    July 30, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC


    We all won't fall for this man again. 80 Percent of adults in America are either unemployed, rely on government, or living near poverty. Obama won't help the middle class more than he'll destroy it more..
    You are misqoting the statistic. It says that 79% of Americans will *at some point in their lives* face extended unemployment, receive government assistance, or drop below the poverty level. It does not mean that 80% of Americans are doing so now.

    July 30, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Darrell

    Here we go again, folks you cannot cut tax's like we would all like at this time. The previous adminisration (yes i said it )have made this impossible, and cutting tax's now would be the worst thing we could do. You have to look at the big picture, we have so many irons in the fire we have to delegate the top ten and work down. However with a do nothing republicant congress who's only thing in the world is repealing a health care law that benefits all of us is beyond me. We need to do one of the Presidents plans on infrustructure and clean fuel. We need to stop the flow of drugs coming into this country which fuels 85% of all crime. We need to make sure all kids have an education and that all our schools are great. We need to go after the corporate world which screws us everychance it gets. We need our congress to work with the President. They said he would be soft on middle east issue, now that he's been kicking thier ass people are mad becuase he use's drones and keeps are kids from dying!!! You cannot have it both ways. We also need to quit building weapons that the military doesn't even want to the tune of Trillion dollars a year. Make the corporate world quit taking our jobs oversea's. He is trying to make America do for America, but we'll never get there with this congress. We can argue and play for sound bites and camera shots like talk radio or we work together and get things done. As you see it's not working and that's not the Presidents fault.

    July 30, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Sarah S.

    Obama has destroyed the job market. He has destroyed our economy. The man is nothing but an empty suit that thinks he has an imperiious presidency. He and his wife live above it all, enjoying a lavish lifestyle, complements of the tax payers. Enough.

    PS: We need real jobs by the private sector, not more government jobs funded by tax payers.

    July 30, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Robert Morales

    his article is like a classic Greek Tragedy . . . you start reading it and everything sounds hopeful, then by the time you get to the end you read the "responses" by the "opposition (for lack of a better term)" and have a bad ending once again. Least productive Congress in full effect

    July 30, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Widgetmaker

    The Republicans want Obama to fail, plain and simple. Anything he proposes they will oppose, even if they know it would be for the good of the country. You could dust off a policy of the Bush administration and put Obama's name on it and they will automatically be against it, because any legislative victory will make him look stronger and that cannot be allowed to happen. Obama is seen only as the enemy. God help us.

    July 30, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. bobnc

    "while investing in programs" = more spending money we don't have. What a joke.

    July 30, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Steve

    So far, my salaried position in consulting has been changed to variable comp (only paid when engaged) and the corporate subsidized benefits eliminated due to part time status due to costs from upcoming Obamacare. This will cost my family $30K in salary or more, $15K out of pocket to replace the corporate plan, and, for the federal government, about $10-15K or more in tax revenue. The Obamacare exchanges will not be on-line for enrollment until October at the earliest. Guess the good news is I will be back at a level where I can participate in government subsidies for education and other programs. Pretty sure I am not alone in the impacts. Tell me why this is a good thing?

    July 30, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. willie wonka

    Wow lets give greedy corporate america a tax break and tax the heck out of the little guy's. What a farce.

    July 30, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. ATPMSD

    Let's see, cut taxes and increase expenditures; that will result in a soring deficit – typically. Sorry but no.

    July 30, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. TonyInNYC

    President thinks big. Cue barrage of insults from small-minded detractors.

    July 30, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. bigdolla

    I just love how conservatives/republicans/senile old farts blame Obama for the state of affairs in America today. They blindly hate everything he does and forget hwo we got to this sad state of affairs. Obviously old elephants have no memory. Bush started his presidency with the largest surplus and left us with a disaster of an economy, massive debt, a broken ineffective government and 2 wars we could not afford. Bush's housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards that resulted in the housing crisis, He bailed out the wall street rich and corporations with massive amounts of taxpayer money. Bush's administration ignored fraudulent behavior from health care companies and let them regulate themselves. Still the most common reason for personal bankruptcy is medical costs. Bush enacted tax breaks and policies that sent American Jobs overseas. Bush cut education and scientific research programs to pay for tax breaks for those who least needed it. Bush took the teeth out of SEC regulation that protected our economy from fraud. During the Bush years the president punished the middle class and they suffered badly while the rich profited under unequal tax policies. Did people forget the massive job losses from the end of the Bush years. It was possibly the worst time for America when Obama came into office. Years later as our economy begins its recovery under Obama (despite the fact that republicans throw a wrench into every legislation Obama proposes) they still blame Obama for not fixing everything fast enough? Please people take your meds. You are hallucinating and losing your memory. This president is actually trying to make government work instead of the failed "hands off" or "deregulation" policies that got us into this mess. The same old policies of doing nothing is not going to fix this mess.

    July 30, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. JomoDaMusicMan

    MR PREZ, MR PREZ: Why don't u denounce the democratic party and join the Tea Baggers. You sold our farm & livestock, now you're selling our wives & kids. They knocked u for bowing to the Saudi King but you're crawling to the Republicans & Tea Baggers

    July 30, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Arun

    USA, you must be one of those republicans who believes giving corporations tax breaks to send jobs overseas is great for the US. You're also probably one of those republicans that hates government aid except when it comes to you. So i guess everything W. said was true. REALLY!!

    July 30, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    "You are misqoting the statistic. It says that 79% of Americans will *at some point in their lives* face extended unemployment, receive government assistance, or drop below the poverty level. It does not mean that 80% of Americans are doing so now."
    Well there you go... I'm so sure everyone feels so much better now that they know they have a 1 in 5 chance of escape. Let's create a new government program. Clearly 1 in 5 escaping is way too high.

    July 30, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Arun

    Sarah S., another clueless repube!! It doesn't matter if the job is private sector or public sector as long as the person is spending money instead of saving it. You need to go and take a course on Econ 101!!

    July 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. JomoDaMusicMan

    The Corp take rate was supposed to be 35% and u are dropping it to 28%. What a Big Joke, the Major Corp didn't pay taxes in the first place. Now, if u drop them to 28%, make sure there are no exemptions and no tax loop holes. Make them pay a flat rate of 28% OF GROSS PROFIT, NOT NET PROFIT BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW THEY PLAY WITH FIGURES TO CHEAT

    July 30, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. BO

    How do you filthy libs feel about Obama cutting Corporate taxes?

    July 30, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. JomoDaMusicMan

    meant Corp TAX RATE

    July 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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