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. Jeb

    Republicans started saying NO before they even read the proposal.

    Having NO positive vision for moving the country forward, Republicans have spent the last 4 and 1/2 years obstructing Obama's effort to create jobs and improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

    They show NO signs of changing there ways.

    July 30, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. bangladong

    Obozo...ur typical overtime blood that knows that all u have to do is hold on to the ball 'til time runs out and u R a WINNER!!! What a C-R-A-P of a legacy this guy can look back to!

    July 30, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. AZ Girl

    It really doesn't matter. MY President could pee silver, sneeze out gold, cure AIDS and Cancer and there would still be 90% of the republicans saying he used too many kleenex, didn't wash his hands and took too long with the cures. You can't win for losing Mr. President, you just can't.

    July 30, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Jeb

    Republicans get what they want here. But clearly the party of NO can't take yes for an answer.

    July 30, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Carlos Danger

    Same pitiful proposal he had a couple years ago..

    July 30, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Bob

    I love how all these GOP dinosaurs scream "liberal" at anything Obama does but forget that their hero, Reagan, was more liberal than Obama. Let's look at what Reagan did. Raised taxes more than any President in history. Tripled the national debt. Granted amnesty to illegal immigrants. As Governor, signed into law the most permissive pro-Choice laws in history. Of course, to help his GOP cred he did sell arms to Iran to fund a secret CIA coup in South America and he did fund Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

    July 30, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. BO

    Obama and jobs are a paradox.

    July 30, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. banglaputz

    All goes to show what a cabinet of lackies Obozo has had for advisors. No wonder he couldn't pull an ocassional rabbit out of the hat going through Republicans' hands!

    July 30, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. John

    when will people learn. This pres has never had a good idea for "We The People" of the United States of America.

    July 30, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Yikes

    When you just don't have the mojo anymore.......it's time to bring out the "grand bargain"....

    July 30, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Lord Toronaga

    For every person getting $10/hr the business gets to deduct $15/hr off their corporate income. Everyone gets hired....

    July 30, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Me


    "Biggest whopper you've come out with yet. Congratulations!!!!

    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2000 – 4,129,000
    Total Federal Personnel, end of 2008 – 4,206,000

    That's an increase of 77,000, or about 2% during Bush's tenure. Nowhere near a doubling. Source – U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    You forgot all the private contractors on the gov't dole, champ.
    LOL Sniffit busted red handed and all he can say is what about the contractors....There sure as heellll was not over 4 million contractors!!!! Kudos Fair is Fair!!!

    July 30, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. johnpm65

    I see that the stock market has about as much faith in the "President" as most of the rest of the country. that would be none.

    July 30, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. USwatcher

    GOP says,just give us the corporate tax break...forget the worker part of the deal.

    July 30, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Jeb

    Republicans couldn't care less about jobs. They have said NO to anything and everything the President has offered. They will simply say NO to this.

    July 30, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Ivan Gonzalez

    Keep trying Mr. President. Eventually the party of NO will have to compromise if they ever want to grab the White House again. The demographics are quickly changing and it is not in their favor.

    July 30, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Too_Funny_But_Not_Haha

    The same ole PhoneyBaloney from the chief tax and spender. What part of $7 trillion in added debt doesn't this guy understand he helped cause in the past 4 years? Where are the real cuts to spending that is required to reduce the federal deficit to something even approaching the worst case under Bush? 2009-2012 – averaging $1.2Trillion per year, 2013 just under $1 Trillion (thank you sequester), 2014 > $750B (estimated). This whole "great bargain" is just another ploy to spend more money – thanks for stopping the nonsense republicans.

    July 30, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Me


    "You guys are like parrots. Perhaps you should actually watch Fox so you can get a different point of view. "

    I do. Know thy enemy. It's the most partisan, mendacious, stilted, biased, pre-scripted load of propagandist garbage on television, bar none. Yesterdays ridiculous display of attacking a world-class scholar for his book on Jesus just because he himself is a muslim really took the cake and was a fantastic example of Faux's constant mindless pandering schtick to the conservative religio-fascist education-hating underbelly of this country.
    Funny, all you liberals have is name calling now, other than your bogus scripted talking points from Obama!!!! It is getting pretty sad! (Notice I didn’t have to call you a name to make my point???????????)

    July 30, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Jeb

    Republicans ran for office in 2010 saying that "Washington doesn't work".

    When they took over the House of Reps, they proved it by creating total gridlock.

    The GOP has become to extreme to govern.

    July 30, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Sure tax off shore profits and see how many corporations domicile outside the country. Real jobs or if you will, prosperity is caused by real private sector jobs...not govt shell games and vote buying. The president/shuckster continues to community organize and divide this country. Detroit is the warning before the big heartattack, so listen up voters while you still have a chance

    July 30, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Skyler

    I really don't like republicans.

    July 30, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. tiz

    The heck is he doing in Tennessee anyway?..... nobody voted for him down here....

    July 30, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. TotalDisgust

    When will these obstructionists stop moving the goal posts and try to do something constructive for this country. President Obama has bent over backwards (too much so most of the time) to try to get these haters to compromise but they simply refuse as it is more important to them to tear down the Obama presidency than to rebuild the country. Disgusted with them all!!

    July 30, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Woody

    The only jobs Americans will have left will be flipping burgers .

    July 30, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. johnpm65

    Let's all vote for Hillary in 2016. That way when she spends uncontrollably, like Obama she can say "What difference does it make?"

    July 30, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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