Obama's Grand Bargain: Corporate Tax Cuts for Jobs

Republicans rebuff President Obama's offer to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for investment in job creation.

President Obama traveled to Tennessee on Tuesday to deliver his fourth speech in a week to promote his economic agenda. Speaking from the Amazon Chattanooga Fulfillment Center, he offered Congress a deal: corporate tax cuts in exchange for investment in jobs.

‘I'm willing to work with Republicans on reforming our corporate tax code, as long as we use the money from transitioning to a simpler tax system for a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs,’’ Obama said. ‘‘That’s the deal.’’

His proposal calls for a corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 28 percent and a 25 percent tax rate for manufacturers. Savings from a simplified tax code would be used to fund job creation programs in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors or at community colleges.

‘"If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we're going to give workers a better deal, too," the president said.

So far, Republican lawmakers aren't finding Obama's bargain quite so grand.

"The president has always supported corporate tax reform,” Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in a statement. “Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This 'grand bargain' 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."

In an op-ed that appeared in today's edition of USA TodayRep. Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee chairman and the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee, also slammed the idea.

"He might call his plan a grand bargain," Ryan wrote. "But I call it a raw deal."

Lawmakers are slated to begin their August recess next week, during which Republicans plan to slam the president's agenda on various fronts, from the federal budget to Obamacare.

But taking a lesson from the Tea Party, Democrats are planning their own offensive. Organizing for Action, an offshoot of Obama's presidential campaign, launched this week an initiative called Action August, during which the political action committee will "blizzard" communities with flyers and postcards, host house meetings, conduct action days and other activities in an effort to sway public opinion the president's way.

“August is a rare month where constituents can change the conversation in their communities while knowing that their representative is home in their district,” said OFA executive director Jon Carson. “It is an organizing opportunity that OFA will be leading.”
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(Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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