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.
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