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. Mike Texoma

    The Republicans have been saying all along that corporate taxes at present rates are a wet blanket on economic recovery. The president has been saying all along that we need to get to work on infrastructure and on job training. This grand bargain sounds like a good idea. How do we pay for it? With hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new jobs. Working people pay taxes. Economists tell us the economy is poised to take off. This just might be the ticket.

    July 30, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Monty

    What difference will it make? The Rethuglicans will still say "no".

    July 30, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Badly-Bent

    OK but, the debt isn't going away as long as we have to compete against unfair trade practices.

    July 30, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. jasmine

    What they dont tell you about Amazon is this.......they only pay tax in which they have a physical presence as a corporation which is in 1 state. Sure they can afford to hire .....what a joke!

    July 30, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. T.W.A

    Obama still politicing as usual ,wonder what Hillary told him at yesterdays lunch?

    July 30, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. Steveo

    We could easily cut the corporate tax rates to 15%, cut ridiculous corporate (welfare) tax breaks. IE, if GE is paying nothing now, 15% of their earnings would be huge and multiply that by all the corporations that pay nothing now. in addition, why are we still paying farmers (corporate or family) NOT to plant? We can cut a lot of fat, reduce taxes and STILL increase revenue to the government. The major obstacles are the lobbyists who carry briefcases stuffed with hundred dollar bills! The scary part is I can figure this out but our leaders can't?

    July 30, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. united steel worker

    Obama has a so called grand bargain every year and then we find out he coms to the table with Nothing!!! When will we learn this guy is a complete Loser.

    July 30, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Mark

    This guy has nothing to offer America but his resignation as the worst president this great Nation has ever had.

    July 30, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Government waste rules

    Whatever. Just blame Republicans for everything, it's the only thing Obama is any good at.

    July 30, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. davecu

    As a president, Barry is a brilliant orator.
    As an administrator, I would only give him a 5 rating.
    As a promise keeper, I'd give him a 3 rating.

    It's is not only the republicans doing, there is gross greed, CYA, breaking the oath of office going on with the democratic royalty.

    July 30, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The haters never cease to amaze me. Republicans have abandoned capitalism and are now 100% fascists.

    July 30, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. roger

    I have my doubts that Obama is looking out for American's well being. He's a ME, ME, ME, type of guy and will always be that way. Then again he's a THEM, THEM, THEM, if something goes wrong.

    July 30, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. sambell1

    the gop say they want to help the middle class! unfortunately they won't agree to job creating infrastructure spending, only lower taxes. same old! same old!

    July 30, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Maine liberal

    The tax "burden"

    Last year, Citizens for Tax Justice found that 30 major corporations had made billions of dollars in profits while paying no federal income tax between 2008 and 2010. Today, CTJ updated that report to reflect the 2011 tax bill of those 30 companies, and 26 of them have still managed to pay absolutely nothing over that four year period:

    July 30, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Wake up People!

    I couldn't agree more Dutch.

    July 30, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Przemek

    Obama simply doesn't get it. He never has and he never will. His socialist approach to governing is stronger than any sensible free market approach. Government can't mandate what jobs are going to be created! It is the market that will decide what jobs are needed based on customer needs. Seriously this man is beyond the reach of any sensible school of economic thought.

    July 30, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Maine liberal

    all the Obama bashers need to read the constitution (the one boehner keeps in his pocket)

    Article one section 8 is a good place to start: its the job description for Congress

    July 30, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. theplu

    They've been cutting corporate tax rates for 40 years and yet, what have these companies done? Hoarded the cash, frozen wages, outsourced good jobs and downsized the rest. This country is in a downward spiral and we need to fix it! People complain that Progressive policies don't work. Well how would we know? We've never been allowed to try any?! Obama is not a Progressive, neither is Hillary. We need some strong Progressives in office. These Republicans and blue dogs are literally killing us.

    July 30, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Frank Ch. Eigler

    As "job creating infrastructure spending" approximately equal to "job destroying taxation/debt", it's not obviously a good thing.

    July 30, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Vic or New York

    John "Bonehead" calls the President's idea for job creation "old". Right.... What about 52 failed Republican Congressional attempts to repeal Healthcare for us all? Now there's a brand NEW idea!


    July 30, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. sonny chapman

    If the proposal didn't have the name OBAMA attached to it, it might have a chance to receive serious consideration by some sane Repubs.; but alas, some of the way-too-early-in-the morning-hate postings here don't leave me very hopeful. And to think, some of these posters consider themselves "Christians". Check out Pope Francis for a truer version of Christian(one who tire to follow the Teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Four Gospels).

    July 30, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. dave

    When you need about 30 million good jobs, 7000 jobs ain't that many. Retail jobs pay about minimum wage, far above that ain't that much. When you want to bring in 11 million to 30 million new workers with amnesty, you need to think about much more than 7000 jobs, about the only thing that could create that many jobs is to shorten the work week, again, like they shortened the work week once before, creating millions of jobs. Generally, we will always have a shortage of good jobs, there's been too many innovations, too many job killing trade deals, too much automation, too many computers, etc. Since we can't deal with the changing economy thru legislation, like they did before, we should think more along the lines of exporting workers, giving high skilled, experienced, highly educated workers a stipend to immigrate. Then we could import a whole lot of illiterate, cheap labor, making our selves like Bangladesh. Then watch all the jobs come flocking in.

    July 30, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Guest

    oh, gosh, he wants to raise taxes AGAIN. Commie.....

    July 30, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. abdul schmegmagali

    Barry continues to blame everyone else for the terrible economy. The largest so called stimulus in history, hasnt done anything, except driven us further into trillions of debt. Isnt he living out the "Dreams of his Father"? Who hated the USA.....

    July 30, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. abacus 123

    Why can't the WH do simple math: "Investments and Rate Cuts" paid for by "Loophole Closures" equals a net net tax increase on businesses which in turn leads to business closures.

    July 30, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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