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. Al

    The Obama proposal sounds like a speech from 4 years ago, let's back solar energy and we go Solyndra, does American want another large lose of money, I know that elections are next year, but do that tax payer have to pay for their campaign adds? No what America needs is less taxes and a smaller government then business will move a little once the ACA is gone, companies will once again offer good full time jobs.

    July 30, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Mike Texoma

    The grand bargain is a good idea. Let's lower corporate income tax rates. The Republicans have been saying they are a wet blanket on economic growth. And let's enact the infrastructure bank, which was born to Republican parents a while back, and which the Republicans have more recently disowned. Republican leadership is spoiling for the opportunity to shut the government down, throw the economy back into recession, and bring about the devaluatiopn of American debt. The idea is to reduce the size and scope of government permanently by "starving the beast". Anyone who thinks this proposal is anything akin to "trickle down" economics is acting really silly.

    July 30, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Jesus


    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.


    Yes – we were losing 800K jobs every month before the current POTUS and now we are gaining 250k + jobs ... not to mention our unfunded and completely unnecessary wars.

    We get it .. you guys dont like the guy .... but blatant lies and extreme positions further hurt your position – it does the opposite of what you want the rest of people to do – it makes you look very small.

    July 30, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. akd4dan

    I am surprised at the nature of the comments. They are so confederate. The South (Confederates) opposed a strong national government (or strong nation generally), despised internal improvements (at least if federally-sponsored) and could care less about racial equality, and definitely would not favor anyone other than a white male for president or much of anything else.

    July 30, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. The problem is ..

    bigdolla's rant on Bush is amusing. Yes, he came in with biggest surplus in history. He could have done one of 3 things: used it to pay down the debt, give tax refunds, or increase spending. Of the 3, the smartest would have been to retire debt, followed by tax breaks, least of the three being new spending, because when it dries up (a lot of the extra revenue wasn't wage income by capital gains taxes from a soaring stock market ... until it crashed, which had nothing to do with his administration, and then 9/11 happened, and we went into terrorism spend mode (also a mistake, really). There is plenty to fault with the Bush administration, but I don't believe that gives Obama a pass to do anything he sees fit to solve our 'problems.' The federal government has become the expected savior, so no one wants to do anything themselves. The states are broke, but that doesn't mean that the federal government can or should fix the problem. The problem is that we are overdue for some pain. Some real honest to god pain, from years of spending more than tax revenue brought in – time to pay the piper. However, our politicians are terrified of admitting that a) the system is broken an b) that they aren't the cure. Bush wasn't the cure, Obama isn't the cure. The cure is doing what millions of Americans are having to do in their own homes, getting your financial house in order to be ready for the future. Increasing spending won't work, because as soon as it stops, people start whining again. These job spending initiatives are boondoggle, just like stimulus was – it's a payout to politically connected people. The way you stop it is by taking the money away from Washington and demanding it stay in your community. This doesn't mean paying lobbyings to send it back from Washington – it means never letting it go there in the first place. For most people at least 25% of their income goes to washington DC, which for many of us is literally thousands of miles away – and why – because some silver tongued beaucrat says he needs it to make our lives better by overpaying for printers in late September to make sure he doesn't lose his budget the next year? F Obama, F the Rhino-publicans and F the Democ RATS. We need fiscally conservative leaders who will cut spending and leave taxes where they are until the debt is lower and then we can talk about what a sustainable budget means for spending

    July 30, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Scottish Mama

    Dear Dar, congress has not passed any budgets put in front of them, passed any jobs bills, the teaparty has stimyed and held up every effort to help the american middle class. Time to take over the congress dems and recover all the way. Obviously Dar, you do not know how congress, senate filibusters, and people like you have stopped our recovery.

    July 30, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Jesus


    So, you're going to cut the corporate tax rate (less money coming in) and "invest" in jobs, which is DC speak for throw more taxpayer money at a problem in an ill defined way so it simply melts into the atmosphere (so more money going out).

    Can't see what could possibly go wrong with this plan.


    Less corporate tax rates is a conservative mantra – a bone to the GOP (that Im sure they will manage to choke on)

    July 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. UpsetVoter

    Out visiting another state and spending as much public money as possible on personal travel. Lets spend money on fun meetings instead of talking to congress.

    This guy is worse than his predecessor President Bush and I did not think it was possible to have less interest in the American public. He has taken all President Bush's laws that bypass our civil rights and put them on steroids instead of eliminating them. He promised to close Gitmo and never did. He is a spending machine with absolutely no concept of the value of a dollar or how the average American lives.

    July 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Boomer in Mo

    I don't know many corporate CEOs but do know a lot of small businessmen who employ 5-10 people. They are exempt from Obamacare yet they howl about how it is going to bankrupt them. If you are going to carry on like a maniac, you really ought to understand what you are screaming about.

    July 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Scottish Mama

    @Al- Solyndra was Bush's baby, with investers like Walmart.

    July 30, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Scottish Mama

    @Upset voter- you cannot close GITMO without consent from congress can you?

    July 30, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Amie

    Compromising with republicans is like trying to reason with a two year old. It's just impossible.

    July 30, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Jesus

    liberal disease

    if this guy employs people he loses half of his voting base, if indeed he knew how to employ people, since he has never had a real job.


    Hey Bubba – thats the kind of stupidity that handed the presidency to the democrats in a landslide. Fringe elements are working hard to prevent the GOP from being anything close to "Grand". Sadly, I dont think there is enough time to reverse/correct course before the Hillary domination

    July 30, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Maria Delaluz

    I don't trust this clown – never have – never will. I'm even thinking at this point, let Mrs. Hilary "I love my cheating husband" Clinton take the reins now! Oh man – I can't believe I just "typed" that, but that's how desperate so many are for this American hating Prez. to be finally GONE! So VERY sad there really aren't ANY viable presidentail candidates out there come 2016. Hopefully Weiner, Spizter, and Filner (sp ?) will all be voted in/keep their jobs. I mean, after all, they are the Party that fights for women.

    July 30, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Jesus


    Out visiting another state and spending as much public money as possible on personal travel. Lets spend money on fun meetings instead of talking to congress.

    This guy is worse than his predecessor President Bush and I did not think it was possible to have less interest in the American public. He has taken all President Bush's laws that bypass our civil rights and put them on steroids instead of eliminating them. He promised to close Gitmo and never did. He is a spending machine with absolutely no concept of the value of a dollar or how the average American lives.


    The former president took more than 2X the vacation as the current one. Facts and numbers matter. Ask Romney.

    July 30, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. loops808

    Obama sounds like he's been a bystander on the economy for the last five years. When is he going to accept responsibility? And it's a joke to hear him complain about the U.S. having the highest corporate taxes in the world and no businesses want to come to the U.S. when he's proposed and passed higher taxes making U.S. the highest corporate taxed country in the world. Remember, "pay their fair share?" Now he's on the campagin trail campaigning against his own policies. This is a joke and has no real susbstane. And as long as the media let's him get away with it; he will continue to campagn.

    July 30, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Me

    Data Driven


    All very excellent reasons. But the only real reason conservatives are for Keystone is because Obama has expressed skepticism about it. It's the only reason that matters to them. It's impossible to have a logical debate with most of these people when their actuating inspiration appears to be reckless hate.
    Keep living in your delutional world buddy I hope it helps you sleep at night!!!! How does that Obummer kool-aid taste??

    July 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. This is Crazy

    Congress shouldn't even respond to this non-sense. He'll only agree to flatten the tax structure in return for more government spending. The Republicans would be the same to go along with this.
    No more spending!

    July 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Jesus


    People I must say you make fun of Republicans by calling them "rethugs" but Democracts arent much better. Look at it the President speaks of jobs creation the Market goes down? Doesn't that some what make you ask why?


    The Market went back up ... whats your point? It does not sound like you have a solid grasp of the markets.

    July 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Mike Texoma

    In the last election, the issue was what was your vision of America in the future. Was it a dramatically smaller government? Or, was it an America in which the middle class was again vibrant and strong? Americans answered that question by reelecting the president. Republicans were in confusion and denial before that election and still are. Who knows how these mid-terms will shake out, but it is clear that the time of political dominance by white men over the age of 50 in America is past.

    July 30, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Ztarbod

    How about a "grand bargain" that just reforms the tax code, keep it simple. Well, not actually simple because republicans and democrats don't know the word "simple". President Obama is all talk and no action, except obfuscation, where is his proposal in written detail for all to see and understand.

    July 30, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Scott

    Has anyone notice that when our President wanted to raise taxes on the rich, raise the corporate tax, create jobs they said no. Now he said ok, lets lower the corporate tax, lower the tax on the the rich so we can create jobs they say no again. When will they say yes to anything he tries?? he gives them (Repubs) what they want they say no. All of you who are middle class and struggling, dont blame the Democrats totally, blame those who are only wanting the 1% to keep getting all they can. Who do youthink make up for all the revenue that the rich does not pay?? the middle class thats who

    July 30, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. gstlab3

    It is too little too late and the economy is ruined and by the way., nobody cares what he says or does anymore.

    July 30, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Jesus


    it only amounts to more travel time for him that way he is away and don't have to answer the other problems that exist. there are many. how many frequent flier miles does he have now.?


    Jobs and the economy are reported to be the biggest concern for the American public. The POTUS is rightfully focusing on those issues. You are right, there are some fake Fox news concerns that exist that YOUwant to pay attention to ... sadly for you, the rest of America has moved on to the real problems

    July 30, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. miketamborrino

    We need another Calvin Coolidge!

    July 30, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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