President Obama on Tuesday unveiled his so-called “grand bargain” to Republican lawmakers, dangling corporate tax cuts in exchange for increased spending on jobs programs. But the deal wasn’t so much “an offer they can’t refuse”--in fact, Republicans promptly refused it--as it was a setup to the budget battle awaiting Congress in the fall.
The president is “setting a foundation for this fight that’s coming up in September, where the battle lines are the same as they’ve always been,” said Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown on NewsNation Tuesday. “Both parties are going to be asking for a lot in exchange for swallowing some really tough pills, and I don’t think that just corporate tax reform in exchange for funding projects will break the logjam.”In the latest installment of an economy-focused speech tour, Obama called for simplifying the tax code--chiefly by closing loopholes and lowering rates--so long as the new revenue be used for the infrastructure initiatives he’s touted. But Republican leaders swiftly dismissed the proposal, demanding individual tax reform in addition to corporate.The hope, said NBC News’ Peter Alexander on NewsNation Tuesday, is that Americans “view this administration, this White House as the one offering up ideas, offering up concessions that Republicans are refusing.”“In many ways, this is part of that public relations campaign the White House is now playing,” he said.