Speaking in Chattanooga, President Barack Obama laid out a "grand bargain" in which he challenged congressional Republicans to go along with a deal to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for more spending in areas he says are key to generating solid middle class jobs.
"We're not lacking for ideas," Obama told an audience of some 2,000 people at Amazon's giant distribution center. "We're just lacking action, especially out of Washington. For most of the past two years Washington has just taken its eye off the ball when it comes to the middle class."
He said "the good news is there's a growing number of Republican senators who are trying to work with Democrats to get something done," but spent time
But U.S. House Republicans aren't buying it with GOP Speaker John Boehner earlier today saying Republicans have their own plan and noting Obama had said it wasn't going to change anyone's mind.
"If the president wants to help, he ought to approve the Keystone pipeline that has bipartisan support here in the House," Boehner said. "He also ought to work with us in the bipartisan majority to delay the health care bill."
During his speech, the president said he came to Chattanooga "to offer a framework that might help break through the political logjam in Washington."
He praised Amazon and the company's workers and said the nation "should be doing everything we can as a country to create more good jobs that pay decent wages. Period. And the problem is not a lack of ideas."
He pushed manufacturing jobs, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, creating "good jobs" in wind, solar and natural gas related endeavors, expanding exports and helping the long-term unemployed.
He called on businesses to do more for their workers and praised Amazon as an example, noting the Internet retailing giant's "Career Choice Program" that pays 95 percent of tuition for employees who want to earn skills in high-demand areas.
Audience members included Amazon employees as well as a number of local officials as well as Democrats. Choosing not to come were any number of Republicans, including U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander as well as Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Obama gave several call outs to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, a Democrat and former state senator whom Obama once taught at the University of Chicago's law school. Also attending was state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.