WHITE HOUSE — U.S. President Barack Obama is proposing a compromise to help break a deadlock with opposition Republicans over his economic plans.
On Tuesday the president went to a giant product distribution center for retailer Amazon.com in the southern city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to announce his latest proposed “grand bargain” on the U.S. economy.
"So today, I came here to offer a framework that might help break through some of the political logjam in Washington, try to get Congress to start moving on some of these proven ideas," he said.
Obama offered to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for more spending on programs designed to create jobs for the middle class.
"If folks in Washington really want a grand bargain, how about a grand bargain for middle class jobs?" he asked. "How about a grand bargain for middle class jobs?"
White House officials have said the president’s proposal will be the first of a series of new economic ideas he will advance in the next few months. He said "serious people" in both parties should accept this deal.
"I am 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," he said. "That's the deal."
Republican lawmakers were quick to dismiss the ideas. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama’s initiative is nothing new and makes no concessions to Republican demands.
"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."
Both the president and Republicans have supported simplifying corporate tax rates. But Republicans disagree with the Obama plan to reform corporate tax policy separately from individual tax rates.
The president wants the revenue generated by the tax changes to be spent on enhancing infrastructure, manufacturing and education.
Tuesday’s appearance in Tennessee was Obama’s fifth trip in seven days to promote his economic plans. With Washington facing budget deadlines in the coming months, the president is trying to build public support for his economic initiatives.
In Washington, policy makers at the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, are meeting. They are considering when they might begin to trim their $85-billion-a-month purchase of securities they have used to pump more money into the U.S. economy, the world's largest. They plan to announce any policy changes on Wednesday.