The Washington Post

Obama’s ‘grand bargain’ not going anywhere

President Obama will propose a new "grand bargain" on tax reform in Chattanooga, Tenn. today. But this attempt at a deal is basically DOA.

Obama makes the GOP an offer they can refuse.

What Obama's proposing: a corporate tax overhaul, with the profits used to fund domestic stimulus. But while there's been bipartisan agreement on the need for corporate tax reform, Republicans want it to be paired with individual tax reform. And they want it to be revenue neutral, as it was in Obama's April budget. In this proposal they don't see enough concessions to make it a bargain at all.

House Republican leadership is also annoyed that the White House didn't reach out with this offer directly before it appeared in the press. Here's House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman:

In fact, the White House says, a bipartisan group of lawmakers were briefed on the proposal, and Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer specifically disputes that Boehner wasn't contacted. MSNBC reports that the White House has had promising conversations with some Republican senators about separating corporate from individual tax reform. Still, the Senate GOP is wary of moving on its own. “We really can’t go first,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told the Post in April.

The White House can't be expecting the House GOP to suddenly cave. They're trying to do a couple of things. First, expand the idea of a "grand bargain" to mean not just deficit reform but any sort of economic agreement, and challenge Republicans to come up with a counteroffer. Second, try to win support from the business community for a proposal that contains two things they want: tax reform and domestic investments.

Most of all, Obama is simply making clear that tax reform is one of his priorities, as Ronald Reagan did in his second term. “Tax reform is a drama with heroes and villains and a damsel in distress,” Reagan said in 1985, in a speech given in -- wouldn't you know it -- Tennessee.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained
Next Story
Sean Sullivan · July 30, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.