House Votes to Tax AIG Bonuses 90 Percent

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The House passed legislation Thursday to tax executives who took bonuses from insurance giant AIG.

The vote came after it was revealed that the stimulus bill passed earlier this year actually paved the way for the bonuses.

In an attempt to cool tempers of voters on Main Street, Democratic leaders rushed a bill to the floor to tax the AIG bonuses back.

After all, government stimulus dollars were intended to stop the bleeding on Wall Street.

"Instead that money is being used to line the pockets of the very crooks who drew the first blood," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, (R-Fla.).

The bill required a two-thirds vote and passed.

It places a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes of $250,000 or more at companies that have received at least $5 billion in bailout money.

Supporters say the other 10 percent will likely be eaten by state and local taxes.

Lawmakers say they hope to send a clear message to big companies receiving billions of tax dollars.

"The game is finished, the casino is closed," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, (D-NY).

Senator Chris Dodd's revelation that it was his staff -- at the request of the Obama adminstration -- that diluted an executive pay provision in the massive stimulus bill, passed earlier this year, sent lawmakers on a finger pointing frenzy.

"Had President Obama not signed the bill, AIG executives wouldn't be getting $165 million in bonuses funded by American taxpayers," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, (R-Ohio).

Congressman Boehner and other Republican leaders argue Congress should ask for all the bonus money back -- not just 90 percent.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blames Wall Street.

"The arrogance and the hubris and the greed of these people to take and to give these bonuses is a symbol of a bigger problem," Pelosi said.

And if outrage over bonuses wasn't enough, we learned some of the companies receiving government bailouts are delinquent on their federal taxes.

At least 13 of the companies owe back taxes, totaling more than $220 million.

The names of those companies have not been released.

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