US House Passes 90 pct Tax on AIG Bailout Bonuses (Al Manar TV)
Date : 2009-03-21 10:55:56
Moving with unusual speed, the US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to slap a 90 percent tax on bonuses for top executives at bailed-out firms like AIG.
Responding quickly to public outrage over the bonuses after the giant insurer received government bailouts of up to $180 billion, the House voted 328-93 to approve a 90 percent tax on bonuses for some executives at companies getting federal aid.
The 90 percent tax, written with American International Group in mind, would apply to employees whose total annual pay exceeded 250,000 dollars at firms that received more than five billion dollars in government rescue funds.
"We want our money back, and we want our money back now," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the often bitter debate. "Here's one way to get it."
Today's vote rightly reflects the populist economic anger that so many feel over the lavish bonuses that AIG provided its employees at the expense of the taxpayers who have kept this failed company afloat," Obama said in a statement.
"I look forward to receiving a final product that will serve as a strong signal to the executives who run these firms that such compensation will not be tolerated," Obama said during a trip to California.
The Senate could as early as Friday take up its own bonus-hunting measure, which could impose excise taxes of up to 70 percent, but efforts to act quickly on the House bill hit a snag as Republicans demanded hearings before any vote.
The two chambers would need to reconcile any differences before Obama can sign the measure into law.
Angry House Republicans blamed Democrats who control Congress and the White House, accusing them of allowing the bonuses to be paid in the first place.
AIG was saved from bankruptcy with an 85-billion-dollar government lifeline in September. The bailout has since mushroomed to more than 170 billion dollars, leaving taxpayers with an 80 percent stake in the company.
The insurance giant was rescued because the US government believed its intricate web of ties with banks worldwide posed an imminent risk of financial collapse not just for the United States but globally.
Al Manar TV