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. zaphed

    well this is the choice in america land of the low IQ, fat and complacent . the choices are limited. I like to move to canada or ostrich land down under. please sponsor me.

    July 30, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Extra Large Pizza

    For Obama is blackmail did not work, then bribes, theft and now just outright full blown pandering. All paid for on the backs of the middle class.

    Ironic. Every time Obama wants to "help" the middle class it ends up costing the middle class more. In taxes, higher prices, food inflation, and depressed wages.

    If you add up Obama 3 more years, god forbid Hillary Clinton gets elected. That would be 7 years of bad luck for the American middle class.

    July 30, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Bob

    Investments? You mean spending...which is not necessarily a bad thing. Infrastructure..Ok...Manufacturing...OK.....Innovation Hubs? What are those? Community College Training?....umm..no we already have a million training centers and these do not create jobs.

    July 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Condor Golf

    Roosevelt (as in FDR) was the father of socialism in the USA.

    July 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. a disgrace

    obama's disgraceful failure at pretending to be a president is exactly why there are NO JOBS.when america gets sick of the terrible condition of the country they can start to fix it by removing this deadbeat from office!!!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Tom

    I listened to Mr. Obama's speech this morning and I think there is a lot that he is not telling people about his Grand Bargain. I do agree with his premis but not how he is going to achieve it. He mentioned creating jobs fixing the aging infrastructure, think about it, how many companies are going to hire people to do this work who have no education or experience in this type of work? Another issue is how many companies are going to hire someone who may be a little older to do these very strenuous jobs? The same goes for green energy jobs, education and experience. I would be willing to bet that anyone that gets one of these jobs will be hired at a lowerpay rate than someone that has the education and background for them. If people who have been out of work for an extended time and want to get retrained, who will pay for the retraining, the government or employers. If the government, where does the money come from, the same for employers. Are employers going to spend a lot of money for retraining for good paying jobs to people who may be older. Affordable Care Act also plays a part in this equation, how many of these jobs will be part time?

    July 30, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Al

    Same story....different place. Obama and his campaign to run America in the ground by spending OUR tax dollars (China's) on fantacies like his GM VOLT fiasco and all of the solar scandalswith a carrot of a little corporate tax cut. Why not just a corporate tax cut. That will incentivise our companise to hire. Not his little Peter and Paul story again!!!!

    July 30, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. ne2indy

    The problem is and always has been that corporations only pay the rate on paper. In reality they pay barely anything or nothing at all because of giant loop holes. GE paid 0 in taxes and got a refund too.

    July 30, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC


    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.
    Has it ever occurred to you that the company is simply using Obamacare as an excuse to take away your benefits?

    July 30, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. are122

    The plan would also put the tax rate on manufacturers at 25% and remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas. ...good idea.

    July 30, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Me



    Let's see, spend money as an investment in programs for middle class jobs, and decrease revenue by cutting corporate taxes. So, increase spending and decrease revenue....yup that's a recipe for reducing the deficit. Or does the President now believe firmly in "trickle down"?
    To be fair- proper corporate tax reform (i.e. lower rates, no loopholes) will result in an increase in corporate tax revenues- this has been long known. Likewise, getting 2 million people back into the workforce, and paying income, social security taxes, etc. will be good for revenue and further stimulate the economy- the only way to tackle the debt issue effectively. The budget deficit is down 50%. While this isn't sure fire, it's the best time to try such a plan.
    So basically you are saying trickle down economics works??? Cutting taxes and expecting corporations to hire is trickle down economics!!! LOL I guess it is a good thing if it is on Liberal terms.....???

    July 30, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. the rt side

    Wait for it wait for it....Its Bush's fault....lol liberals...

    July 30, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |

    President Obama pushes the no solutions Guns Over People Shutdown Government tea potty in a corner again. Make our day wingnuts.

    July 30, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Bill

    Can't wait until this Democrap is OUT of office. We have an executive office full office idiots and a country full of fools who put him there.

    July 30, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. ddoolittle86

    I think the only thing America is sick of that starts with the word bi now is bi-partisan politics between Congress and the President. Nothing gets done in Washington DC anymore. When are re-elections for Congress? Time to out vote all these losers wasting your and my time, I mean all of them, and instill new elected officials who will actually get work done. Or Congress needs to put bias, favoritism, and lobbied interests aside to begin working for the people again.

    July 30, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Me


    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.
    LOL Doesn't it get old blaming others for your failures?? By the way, it was policies in Clinton's presidency that lead to the house bubble that cause the crash!!! Get a clue, if you are going to blame others, at least blame the correct person!!!!

    July 30, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Dave

    Obama cant understand that socialism dosn't work. Times were good until he came on the scene. We are in dire straights across the board today.

    July 30, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Dar

    It is so funny how all the Democraps scream how the Republicans are the reason that Obama is failing.
    Trust me, Obama doesn't need the Republicans help to fail. He can and has been failing quite well on his own.

    A lady in Jersey was asked after the hurricane last year how the community was going to cope with the loss of all the churches in the area that were destroyed. The lady said, Well I don't know about that and really don't care. I never went to Churches anyway, I always went to "Popeye's" for our chicken.

    And you wonder how Obama got elected. Now we know!

    July 30, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Ed1

    Send in the CLOWNS Obama still doesn't get it and never will.

    July 30, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Maltytasker

    At least Obama's proposing something. Beats the GOP plan: give us everything we want or we'll bring the country down.

    July 30, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. LBLA

    " "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."

    -How does the president expect to have any control over what corporations do with tax saving? Is the new rule that the President gets to tell businesses what to do with their money???

    July 30, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Lib

    It's always those who didn't say a peep when Bush ruined the country that are coming out of the woodwork now to continue blaming this president. What a joke! The biggest depression ever in 2008 and the impatient kindergarden kids are still impatient. Yet they say nothing about the real culprits who are holding this country back, their congress man/woman. If you want this country to continue moving forward stop acting like one person can do it all. The president does not legislate laws. Grab a hold of your no working congress person while they are on another break and blast them out. Stop whining about president Obama not doing this or that. It will be many years before this country recovers. Face the facts!

    July 30, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Middle class employee



    Rick McDaniel

    Obama has no concept of how much his policies have killed jobs. No concept whatsoever.
    Given that more jobs were created under Mr. Obama than in 8 years under Bush, apparently you don't either.

    I call BS on this statement its a false report... MORE PEOPLE STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK and the jobs made are not full time jobs, they are part time at minimum wadge.
    I agree Jesse, but these liberals spout off this kind of crap all the time without providing any source or proof (like they really could anyway…). I think they say it so much that they actually believe it now!!!

    July 30, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Scottish Mama

    @ Ed1- they did Ed1 they elected a whole bunch of clowns, the republican congress. Let's see how many republicans we can fit in a funny car, and send them back to the middle class working jobs.

    July 30, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Jesus


    Same story....different place. Obama and his campaign to run America in the ground by spending OUR tax dollars (China's) on fantacies like his GM VOLT fiasco and all of the solar scandalswith a carrot of a little corporate tax cut. Why not just a corporate tax cut. That will incentivise our companise to hire. Not his little Peter and Paul story again!!!!


    You are mixing up your conspiracy theories bubba

    July 30, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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