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. mlblogsbaseballramblings

    Grand bargain for jobs?

    Tax cut for corporations
    No mandate for corporations to hire US workers.
    Corporations to fire US workers
    Corporations to hire foreign labor on visas.
    Corporations market cap to rise.

    How exactly does this help the middle class?

    July 30, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Tenie

    Oh please, he has his usual nothing.

    July 30, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. rs

    Despite the fact that Republicans did well in House elections running on "jobs, jobs, jobs", you can bet good money they won't vote for any of these initiatives. That is because: A) it would help working class America, and make the economy better ( 2 things they don't want), and B) These are initiatives supported by the President, and C) The GOP has shifted their political emphasis to Gynecology, and have no interest in practical politics anymore.

    July 30, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Bill Buckner

    Anyone knows when a politician talks "Grand Bargin" and programs to get people back to work, they think they are FDR with his "New Deal" socialist programs that lead to such things as welfare. Programs don't get people back to work JOBS do. Programs are government code words for taking tax payers money to spend on bull and further separate the rich from the poor. Nice try Obama but the educated American is not going to fall for you or any of Washington's Republican or Democrat propaganda anymore. Revolution is coming watch and see.

    July 30, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. rs

    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.

    July 30, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. mb2010a

    At least he proposed something, which is 100% more than the Republicans have proposed.

    July 30, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. bill paish

    it sounds like an attempt to compromise with the GOP, now we have to wait and see what the party of "NO"says,
    anybody want to guess ?

    July 30, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. TJ

    Everybody here is so smart. I wish all of you could be President and fix all of our problems with your fresh new ideas.

    July 30, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. wendel

    repos will reject this like they do everything else. They have no plan to help the American people and only want to discredit this administration. They wave the flag but that's all they do, Vote these clowns out so we can move this country forward. Aren't you tired of all the negativity from this party. ???? No positive ideas or comments from these people just gloom and doom. Republicans are a dying breed of greedy old people.

    July 30, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. abacus 123

    It is a net net tax hike on business. Lower the rate, spend more on training. Pay for it by closing deductions. 4-1=3+2=5 see

    July 30, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. rs


    What happened to LASER FOCUS on jobs?

    and you will notice he wants congress to come up with a plan – he is clueless.
    Mr. Obama has plans, who makes the law in our great nation? Oh, yeah, Congress. Get a clue.

    July 30, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. Al

    Amazon created the jobs, Obama and his administration had nothing to do with the jobs, but he wants to take credit for creating those jobs.

    July 30, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. John M,

    As long as a company can make more money by leveraging lower foreign corporate taxes and labor costs, my recommendation would be to learn Chinese or Indian if you want a job.

    July 30, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. hitman

    Nothing to see here folks. Move along!

    July 30, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. rapierpoint

    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"?

    July 30, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. My10Cents

    Republicans will still say "No" because they are cornered by the Tea party into wanting and needing the economic and political chaos as the platform for the next round of elections. This country's political process will continue to degrade until all of the elected officials in DC fulfill the basic mandate of their positions and participate in governing for the people and not for themselves. Unfortunately, I don't the see the current situation getting better any time soon.

    July 30, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. abdul schmegmagali

    More lies from the community activist.......

    July 30, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Jarmeel Whitting

    Republicans could care less about American progress their concerns lies strictly with less taxes and abortions. It wasn't that long ago when a person who claimed to be pro-life and advocated for the death penalty would be called "A FOOL" now their called "REPUBLICANS".

    July 30, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Wade

    Again Obama helping big corporations and screwing all the little people. Nothing new in this story. Obama said just last week he will concentrate on helping the middle class. What he obviously meant was he will continue to screw them.

    July 30, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Jonny P.

    Here's a big clue, the debt we primarily owe to ourselves! So stop acting like it's a big deal, because it's not. When we owe all our debt to other countries THEN that's something to be concerned about.

    July 30, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. rs


    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.

    July 30, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. abacus 123

    Raising the money to pay for the rate reduction and the "investments" means that corporations will pay more! This is just another way to increase taxes on business And BHO will spin it as the Rep's not voting for jobs. BHO never underestimates the ignorance of the electorate, he counts on it!

    July 30, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. DJ

    Ok, if you take him at his word he wants to lower taxes while increasing spending on "programs". Haven't we been down this road before ? That's exactly why we find ourselves in the spot we are in today according to the Democrats. And now this exact scheme appears as his "grand bargain". Talk about re-branding...

    July 30, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. georgex9

    The Republicans threat to shut down the government is not a normal position for reasonable negotiations. Instead this sabotage and extortion and reckless.

    July 30, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Hillcrester

    I love it. The House GOP should keep opposing every reasonable Obama proposal. It just drives another nail in the Repub party's coffin. They oppose assisted suicide but apparently have no problem committing it unassisted.

    July 30, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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