Sens. Webb, Boxer, Slaughter would tax bonuses at bailout recipient firms

Democrats in the House and Senate are making a new push to tax bonuses at large financial firms that received bailout money.

The new efforts come after reports that Bank of America's investment bank division intends to pay in excess of $4 billion in bonuses and that American International Group (AIG) will pay out $100 million in bonuses. AIG employees agreed to roughly $20 million less in overall bonus payments that scheduled.

Democratic Sens. Jim Webb (Va.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) intend to unveil legislation on Thursday that would tax bonuses for top executives at firms that benefited from government bailout money in 2009. Boxer is up for reelection this year.

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Meanwhile, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, said she is working with lawmakers on a 50 percent tax on any bonuses exceeding $50,000 at “government-supported institutions.”

Last year, amid an uproar over bonus payments at AIG, the House passed a 90 percent tax on bonuses. But the Senate never passed a companion tax measure.

Separately, Kenneth Feinberg, the special master on compensation at firms receiving bailout money, has worked to restructure pay packages.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified on Wednesday that the pay packages in place at AIG in 2007 and 2008 were “outrageous.”

“They should never have been permitted,” Geithner said.



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