CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered congressional Republicans a new corporate tax cut and jobs spending package he said might “help break through some of the political logjam in Washington,” only to have GOP lawmakers immediately throw cold water on the idea.
The announcement and quick rejection underscored how elusive common ground is between the Democratic White House and Republicans in Congress on fiscal issues. The divide was particularly stark on the corporate tax proposal given that both parties generally have supported overhauling the code for businesses, though the White House and Republicans have differed on specifics.
Obama outlined his proposal in a speech at a massive Amazon.com plant in Chattanooga, his latest stop on a summertime campaign to refocus his agenda on the economy. He said “serious people” in both parties should accept his offer.
“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.”
But the office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained that Obama's plan was simply a repackaging of proposals the White House has always supported.
“It's the opposite of a concession,” said spokesman Brendan Buck, noting that Republicans want to link a corporate tax overhaul with changes in the individual tax code.
Boehner and the White House also dueled over the proposal's rollout, with the speaker's office saying officials there first learned about the plan from media reports. An Obama spokesman said the White House tried to tell Boehner's staff about the plan a day in advance but the call was not returned.
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If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we're going to give workers a better deal too.”