Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will introduce legislation that would impose a 50% tax on excessive bonuses at firms that received bailout funds.
The "Wall Street Bonus Tax Act" would apply only to bonuses over $50,000, and would use the tax revenue to support loans to small businesses.
Welch unveiled the proposal at a press conference in Burlington this morning.
"As most Americans struggle to endure a long and wrenching recession, the same Wall Street bankers who came to the American taxpayer with hat in hand are now preparing to pocket record-breaking bonuses,” said Welch. “Financial firms that received taxpayer assistance must remember that they owe their return to profitability to hardworking Americans.”
Reports this week indicated that a handful of the largest firms receiving TARP funds--Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America--will pay out $90 billion in bonuses.
The White House has expressed dismay at such payouts. Obama has repeatedly said that many Wall Street firms "still don't get it." One of the president's top economic advisers said this weekend she was outraged by such bonuses.
"For heaven's sake, people, it does seem really ridiculous," Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN on Sunday.
The White House is reportedly considering its own version of a "bank tax" to recoup the rest of the bailout funds.