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House Passes AIG Bonus Tax Bill

By Ben Pershing

The House today approved a measure to tax bonuses paid to employees of American International Group, voting in a large bipartisan bloc to punish the troubled company after a heated partisan debate.

The bill drew the support of 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans, passing 328-93. The measure was considered under suspension of the rules, meaning the bill could not be amended but it needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Eighty-seven Republicans voted against the bill, though it split the party's leadership: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) voted against it, but Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) voted for it. Several Republicans waited to see whether the bill would pass before registering their "aye" votes. Six Democrats voted no.

The bill would place a 90 percent tax on the $165 million in bonuses handed by AIG this month. Passage came after the two parties traded barbs on the House floor over who knew what about the AIG bonuses and when, with Republicans accusing Democrats of trying to cover up their own legislative failings, and Democrats accusing the GOP of wanting to grandstand rather than fix the problem.

The Senate Finance Committee is preparing similar legislation, though it's not clear when that chamber will act.

By Ben Pershing  |  March 19, 2009; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pelosi: Don't Blame Us for AIG Mess
Next: Today on the Hill


Too bad it wasn't 100%. Still, commendable for them actually taking action. I guess it shows what can be done if there's a political will do so. Hopefully we can turn this economy around and actually focus on solving the deeper, systemic issues for why we're in this situation. Obviously bad banking's a good place to start, but there are other issues, like global poverty, that have huge economic and geopolitical ramifications. Developing a political will for that would be amazing.

The Borgen Project ( has some interesting insight into addressing the issues of global poverty, something we can remedy easily and sustainably.

Some interesting figures to ponder:
$30 billion USD: The annual shortfall to end global poverty.
$550 billion USD: The annual US defense budget.

Posted by: concernedcitizen1111 | March 20, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

For stories like this would it be possible to add a link at the end of the story to quickly go to the vote tally so we could quickly see how our Representatives voted?

Posted by: twotaul | March 21, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Congress is going to get the money back paid out to people who had a bad year but no one is trying to get back the pay raise congress gave themselves this year.
I don't know about anyone else but I feel they had a bad year and this is a waste of tax payers money too.

Posted by: BobbyGil | March 21, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the taxes on bonus should be 100% our forefathers did'nt take in to account the greed of big buss. and your guest keep saying the public is mad,they don't get it, its not just AIG its madoff its pork barrel spending its the banks losing jobs our homes they all think its just one thing that set us off, I think that the republicains are so busy with trying to turn the public againest Obama there consumed with keeping the pot stirring because they don't have a plan so they want Obama to fail instead of coming together for the good of the country they keep the people in an uproar so they don't have to do anything and can later say I told you so Obama got handed this mess from the Bush Admin. and they don't even have the guts to if not amit there failure to help fix it instead of being a problem I think some of them better worry the vote for there seats are coming up there is no excuse of sitting on the side lines and saying I told you so, everytime time I turn on the tv and see there bad mouthing and complaining I ask what are you doing to help,I think some of goverment think the american people can't think for there selfs and will believe anything there told,I think they should think again

Posted by: khcheeky | March 22, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

AIG issuing a bonus given their financial situation is bad business regardless of whether they received bailout money or not. Although morals and ethics have been taken out of our society, so it is not surprising it has become all about me. However, taxes are designed to generate revenue to fund the operation of our government not as punishment. It makes me nervous when the government uses it as a weapon against a specific minority. Sometimes I wish they were a little more old fashioned in suppressing the bourgeois minority, shoot them in the back of the head like the Chinese do. It would actually be a little less cruel than making them suffer financially. Maybe go ahead and execute out to about the third generation and take their money as well. That way you would eliminate potential enemies.

Posted by: Ezjason | March 23, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

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