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. nintex

    The conservatives posting on here are sounding more desperate and crazy by the day. Their incoherent jabbering about "scandals" and "worst president ever" are just plain out of touch with the reality of the situation. Which makes their noise really, really annoying – I wouldn't mind reading some sane, meaningful points from the right, if only they had any.

    July 30, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. yogi

    One more obstruction offer the GOP will happily accept, it will energize them in digging in deeper, not realizing it is their own grave that is getting deeper and deeper. RIP GOP.

    July 30, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Gary

    I guess Hope and Change is alive and well.

    July 30, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. John-117

    I think Obama should step down after what has happened to Detroit. He claimed to have saved the city years ago.

    July 30, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Tom1940

    As to "Business". Try if you will to put yourself in the shoes of someone starting up a business. All of the hoops you have to jump through in hiring folks to work for you. Capital formation in the first place is a bitch. Then jump through all of the regulations, rules, "edicts" and tons of paperwork to meet "regulatory agencies" at the local, state and federal level, just to get the doors open. If you still had the energy to do it, why? Just try working in an environment where at any moment, some regulator says you are violating a rule, a reg, or an "edict" and your out of business. It would be better if you had the bucks, to just sit on 'em, collect the interest and forget the headache.

    July 30, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. mc

    Not being an expert on the topic... Cutting the corporate tax rate does not mean jobs will materialize. Many companies have their "headquarters" located off shore to avoid paying corporate taxes. Doesn't that mean paying a reduced tax is still costing them more than they are paying now.

    July 30, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. tom l.

    Am I crazy or did Obama try to take credit for Amazon creating new jobs? Wow.

    July 30, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. StevenR

    Dear American People;

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

    Signed: The GOP

    July 30, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. JBT

    Tax reform is pointless without a balanced budget amendment and national DEBT payment plan. Corporations and individuals will take any tax cut and ram it in their pocket; its foolish to think they will somehow "invest" it in the economy.

    July 30, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Steveo

    @Rich Edwards

    Just wow, the Repubs are literally the ones causing the majority of people to NOT have jobs and those people that say boo hoo obama, cut this, that and this. Has your corporate leaders really brainwashed that many people. Answer, yes.
    So the uncertainty of the ACA (Obamacare) has no effect on jobs and especially full time jobs?

    July 30, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. How bout this!

    Gerrymander districts to Repub's, make voter suppression the law, outlaw abortion and sex, drive the country off the fiscal cliff, do away with food stamps, do away with unemployment, do away with medicare, do away with social security, do away with unions, do away with the minimum wage, do away with healthcare, force religeon on everyone, make students pay interest 3 times normal rate, fine parents if students vote, do away with the voters rights act, make corporations people, drug test all poor people, make smoking a joint punishable with life, make women's pay %50 of a mans, make women have rapist's children, defund the entire government, make owning a gun manditory, make it leagal to kill someone with gun if wearing a hoodie, make black presidents show birth certificates, force tar sand oil pipelines through the country funnell it to La refineries – sell it overseas, do away with the EPA, do away with consumer protection, do away with corporate tax, bail out banks, tax the poor who have no money, create many Wall Marts, import China products, force illeagal aliens to pick fruit with no means to citizenship ....

    Oh wait, we already do this.

    I see no reason NOT to trust Repub's, do you Obama ?
    Obama, Get a backbone, Just say NO buddy, say no to everything they say.

    Get brutal with them, fist fight the next Repub that even looks at you funny.
    Get mean buddy!

    July 30, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. tom l.

    @all the liberals on here
    Why is it the standard response when it is of a conservative viewpoint always "stop watching Fox"? Ummmm, if that were the case then why are they HERE on CNN posting comments? What that demonstrates is that most people here may or may not watch Fox, but they most certainly are on CNN getting their news here, as well.

    You guys are like parrots. Perhaps you should actually watch Fox so you can get a different point of view. So silly. Perhpas you could actually take the time to listen and understand a conservative or liberatarian point of view so you can better educate yourself rather than listening to what Obama tells you.

    July 30, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. John-117

    @Steveo, That's funny you say the republicans are halting job growth. When TN, a state where 90/94 counties voted against Obama, has created several thousand jobs by attracting businesses like Volkswagen and Amazon.

    July 30, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. mvunyi timothy

    The best viable venue US should walk now is to increase development in luxurious rail, air and water transport. Also develop new roads with colors like black,green,yellow, red, white, blue and very fine lanes. The cities need more taller and brighter skyscrapers taller than the twin towers and bigger in area. Pubs,restaurants, hotels should be modernized. For instance, let the US be the first to develop a plastic vehicle and engine that are free of accidents. It is possible. The immigration policy should also give opportunity to we the persecuted.

    July 30, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. the rt side

    I am with "the do nothing" Congress. If by as you they are not putting forward his spending us broke plan! You do know 48% of america did not vote for this loser...Election was today. ROMNEY by a mile......

    July 30, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. midwestmatt

    The GOP will NEVER go for anything that doesn't benefit their handlers.

    Lower taxes have never created a single job. Demand for services or products does and without a customer base there is no possibility of job creation.

    Demand = jobs.

    Demand is created by a workforce with income. The GOP is not interested in creating jobs that will create consumers who will ultimately drive demand and a robust economy. They are minions of their wealthy handlers and we are now becoming serfs to the likes of the Kochs and the Cohens of this once great country.

    July 30, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. dt

    More obedience to the concept that investment is a net cost to a company, and the government should fund it. Then tomorrow they will complain about government spending. So unbelievable. Also, the idea that reducing taxes creates jobs.... Anyone remember trickle down. Thats WHAT this IS!! This is the killing blow to our economy if we actually lower taxes again. We are in DEBT. We cant be GIVING money AWAY!

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Joe

    So the plan is to cut taxes and increase government spending? Does that not result in further increasing the debt?

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. McBob79

    Great.... More talking points. Now, will it materialize? He's not a consensus builder, we've all witnessed that first hand.

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. JD

    Shame on this government, for cheating its citizens out of proper governing. Shame on the citizens, for rolling over and partaking in this scandal.

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Harry101


    Dear American People;

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

    Signed: The GOP
    My way, My way. My way, No other way but my way.

    Signed the DNC

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. rapierpoint


    The conservatives posting on here are sounding more desperate and crazy by the day. Their incoherent jabbering about "scandals" and "worst president ever" are just plain out of touch with the reality of the situation. Which makes their noise really, really annoying – I wouldn't mind reading some sane, meaningful points from the right, if only they had any.
    You might have a meaningful point. Except that I haven't seen a plethora of posts here about "worst president ever" and

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. EdL

    Holy Cow! A grand campaign for jobs! Wonder where this grand campaign was during his first term in office. Or is this simply a campaign strategy, today's news headliner. Might be a good idea to go to work at the White House instead of the continued campaigning. On the other hand maybe its better to do what one does best. In Obama's case he is an excellent campaigner, fundraiser, and vacationer. Not so good at leadership.

    July 30, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Kelley Knight

    Want to fix the mess this government has created… Let's all and I emphasize all go on a workers strike. And I'm not talking for one day. I'm talking a worker's strike that doesn't end until we have a revolution in this country.

    July 30, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Repub insanity

    How can anyone still listen and believe the vitriol the repub spew anymore??? They have DONE NOTHING for 5 years but say NO to everything and they are destroying America!!! They are corporatists and elitists and actually believe that working poor people is a good thing!!!!

    July 30, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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