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. JDL

    No matter what the President suggests you can count on the GOP being against it all the way, they have shown that they would rather the country go down the tubes as to have this President accomplish anything.
    The GOP proves everyday that they are the party of NO when they filibuster their own bills and obstruct any forward progress of the country.
    They campaigned on jobs and as soon as the election was over they attacked Women's rights in every state that they had control over, Wisconsin ,Texas, , Ohio,
    All through the election they cried about tax cuts for the "JOB CREATORS" now the President is willing to deal and they aren't interested in tax cuts anymore.
    This Country will not move forward as long as the GOP/T has the stranglehold on America,
    VOTE them out in 2014 !

    July 30, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. UDidntBuildThat

    So more bailout for Obama's croonies? Tax cut for the "rich" and taxpayer money for his campaign donors like Solyndra. Gee I thought it was Repubs that were for the rich? Hey poor and middle class? How is much better is your life now that unemployment is up, gas prices up, food prices up, health insurance cost up, wages down. Worked out well now didn't it?

    July 30, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    @Reality – BLAHBLAHBLAH...when is this guy gonna stop campaigning???? GET TO WORK!!!! This speech giving does not do a damn thing!!! Its pretty bad when the Congress has to find out about his 'Grand Bargain' from watching it on TV versus sitting in a meeting with the POTUS....he just does not get it!!!!
    Oh, he get's it alright.. which is why the speech.. GO public.. since the GOP will block and filibuster EVERYTHING Obama tries to do. Yet the lemming continue to inhale everything anti-Obama that Fox and the GOP blows their way!

    Perhaps what you really meant is that – like the 13 briefings on the NSA spying between 2008-2012 that Congressional GOP members conveniently forgot they were given – the GOP in the House conveniently forgot those briefings too, and needs to GET TO WORK!!! Stop with the POTUS hating, STOP with the tantrums, focus on the good of the country!!! WHERE ARE THE JOBS bills we were promised in 2010?? Oh yeah.. those!!

    July 30, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Eric

    So Obama's plan to fix the economy is to cut taxes (less tax revenue) while at the same time spending more money we don't have... Sounds like his plan to get out of the hole is to widen the hole instead of making it deeper. How innovative.

    July 30, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. UDidntBuildThat

    uh-oh. Get out your shovels. More shovel ready jobs are coming to a town near u just like the last stimulus.

    July 30, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. bla

    A week later:

    "Deal falls through. Both parties blame each other for obstructionism."

    July 30, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Jesus


    Obama is an economic nitwit.

    For all the people who want to tax corporations, guess who pays for it? YOU DO! Politicians love corporate taxes because it's going after the big guy and it's a hidden tax that the consumer doesn't see. It's a win win for politicians and a lose lose for taxpayers.


    Seems like you are the nitwit since you did not read the article. You address people who want to "tax the coporations more" but the article is discussing how the POTUS is proposing to lower thier tax rates. Nitwit.

    July 30, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Dar

    Dear Scottish Mama,
    You are correct to some extent. The Senate Dems put forth a plan and the Republican Congress throws it away. BUT the Republican Congress puts forth a plan and the Democratic Senate throws theirs away.
    Who is to blame??? I always thought it was the President who could or could not control their people.
    It cannot all be one way and both parties are showing their rear ends right now and we the people are paying for it.
    Have a good day.

    July 30, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Hmm

    jobs...spending...infrastructure...investment...spending...bhObama continues his 4 and a half year old mantra...again...

    July 30, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. rad666

    Lame duck just shuckin' & jivin'.

    July 30, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Hmm

    bhObama talks a lot...again...

    July 30, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. leah

    We need a new, WORKING Congress. One that works FOR the people of this country.

    Any jobs bill would have to be pre-negotiated among both sides of the aisle for it to pass Congress. All the jobs bills we have seen die in Congress time & time again over the past 5 years have been for show only – none have been pre-negotiated among both parties. In other words, they weren't serious about getting one to pass FOR the people.

    July 30, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. TheAccountant

    I am glad Obama is back on message to help the middle class but why would corporations accept Obama's plan when they already have loopholes to avoid taxes? Let's be honest, many repubiicans just hate Obama cause he is half black and they will never support him.

    July 30, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Jeb

    It doesn't matter what Obama proposes, the party of NO will just say NO.

    July 30, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Roy

    One can automatically assume republicans will object to anything that might help the country as a whole but if you're talking billionaires they rise front and center pronto.

    July 30, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. john williams

    Obama idea is a great opportunity for Republicans to respond with some plan of their own, even if they drop his idea.... so instead, they whine, and grunt about what the President introduces....It's not rocket science to see that we need a big change in Congress, that Republicans who we thought would help, have not only hurt America but all of us who are Americans...I voted Republican, but for the life of me, I can't see myself voting for a group of people just because they say they are conservative, I need someone who is gonna do something for America, not throw it under the bus....I'm in favor of replacing every Republican possible, like many other Americans, if it is going to get something done in Congress....good bye Republicans...Hello Democrats

    July 30, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Dave in Arizona

    Hey look, Republicans!
    You know how you say Obama never tries to work with Republicans?

    Well. He just tried.
    And from the get-go their reaction is fundamentally a "no".

    Couldn't they even be positive and give a "we'll talk about it with him"? Are they so desperate for him not to look like a leader that they'll refuse to work with him on EVERYTHING?

    You can't lead those who blatantly refuse to follow, again and again and again....

    July 30, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Data Driven



    Half of it went to tax breaks at the insistence of the Senate GOP. It was in all the papers.

    The other half went to propping up the economy that Bush trashed. Frankly, it wasn't enough.

    July 30, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Jesus


    Does anyone else see this guy as a job killer or is it just me?


    Just you and some tea bags

    July 30, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. U.S. Citizen

    Hopefully it's to let the people be so that we can prosper.
    But unlikely.
    There is no way he would let up on the government's regulatory food that's on the throats of the private sector.

    July 30, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Phoney President Obama

    Obama knows absolutely nothing about how to create real jobs. All he knows is how to take money from others to create government jobs. Government jobs are OVERHEAD on the economy. Obama just doesn't get it. Never has, never wlll.

    July 30, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. U.S. Citizen

    More part-time non-living wage jobs!
    Geee .... can't wait.

    July 30, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. john williams

    I'm voting for Change we all can Believe in...... Republicans have voted with fear, hatred and doom.... our economies have tanked, personal wealth trampled, our rights taken from us, and they still have the odacity to want us to be loyal. I can tell you this, this is not a confederacy, and I am going to vote to change America, Republicans have to pay for what they have done to our Country, It's not the black man we have to worry about, it is the one's in power, who fear what he will do...it is Boehner, McConnell, King and the other desperate white males who instead of uplift our America, have trod it down, have made race relations worse, and have given our kids nothing positive to look to from this Congress....at a low rating of 8%, this Congress, this group of tea party Republicans have got to go

    July 30, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Me

    Rudy NYC

    LostInAmerica wrote:

    I am a Democrat. I am a Liberal. I work for a community college. I have seen first hand how tax payer's dollars are squandered through inept and incompetent management. I can not in good concience support any plan that throws tax dollars at a problem that exists solely because of stupidity.
    If you live in a red state, then I can understand your frustration.

    But, what type of spending are you talking about? Your complaint lacks any specifics, which makes it sounds like right wing talking points coming from someone pretending something that they are not. Right wingers do that a lot around here.
    There we go again Rudy, someone that does not agree with some of your liberal ideas so they must be a right wing tea party member right??? Liberals, the most DIVISIVE party in the world!!!!

    July 30, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Me


    "Now Obama wants to cut taxes on corporation its good now? "

    Oh brother. The overall effect he is proposing is to cut tax RATES but get rid of enough of the preferential deductions and loopholes that they receive that it at least makes up for it and, more likely, actually results in increased revenue to the gov't. Did you miss that part or are you just playing the game of being deliberately obtuse so you can make complaints that have no basis in reality?
    Don't believe it, how much was Obamacare going to cost again??? Sorry but history proves Obama does not know what he is talking about!!!!!!

    July 30, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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