Obama to Congress: I’ll Trade Corporate Tax Reform for Infrastructure Spending

obama street sign

While President Barack Obama is currently dogged by the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal and the PRISM ordeal, most of his legacy will be tied to the financial crisis that brought the U.S. economy to its knees just as he took office in early 2009.

Obama has served during one of the most economically challenging and politically dense periods in American history, and last week he delivered the first in a series of speeches designed to address the problems facing America’s middle class — that is, the engine of prosperity, which stalled in the wake of the crisis.

Obama will deliver his second speech Tuesday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he is expected to outline a new deal for congressional Republicans who have disagreed with his previous proposals. The latest plan will ask Congress to trade corporate tax reform — something the president would previously only consider alongside individual tax reform — for additional infrastructure spending.

“As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee, the president will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle-class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle-class jobs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president, according to CNN.

The current statutory corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, among the highest of any developed nation. The president has proposed lowering the rate to 28 percent — 25 percent for manufacturers — and instituting a minimum tax on foreign earnings to combat tax evasion and overseas cash hoarding.

Obama would reportedly seek to use a one-time windfall from reforming the tax code to fund a round of infrastructure spending, which many Republicans oppose.

In case you missed the president’s speech last week, the July 27 weekly address is a pretty good summary:

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