March 19th, 2009
02:53 PM ET
14 years ago

House passes bill taxing Wall Street bonuses

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday to try to recoup bonuses paid to Wall Street executives with taxpayer money."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday to try to recoup bonuses paid to Wall Street executives with taxpayer money.

The measure passed, 328-93; most Democrats supported the measure while Republicans were sharply divided.

A two-thirds majority among all members voting was required for passage.

The measure would tax individuals on any bonuses received in 2009 from companies getting $5 billion or more in money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Bonuses for people with incomes over $250,000 would be taxed at a 90 percent rate.

The measure now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    well if these losers had rad the bill before they voted for it.....this would have never occured................yes...this is CHANGE we can believe in......only 3 years, 10 months to go

    March 19, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. larry angulo

    if this excise tax for 90 percent is past on the senate floor woo until every american in this so called country. instead to protect the consituition, congress is pissing on it .. every soldier that is severing the country for the constiuition should lay there arms down and go home.. becuase america does not exsist anymore. further more the congress and that is every congressman... should pay the 165 mil they voted on the bill with the provision in this so called package.. this will cause a trickle down effect on the people of america, even you.. this will create a promblem bigger than what is giong on... governement just destroyed the american life... we fought england on this very thing. they just took are rights away and everyone of those repres. knows it.. they just burn down there own house..

    March 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Roy

    CMON: Republicans say the bailout is too high and companies should not get bailout money....but now when the government wants to tax and get back that bonus money Repubklicans arwe 'Sharply Divided????' this because the money is NOW in the greedy hands of people who will vote Republican in 2010 that the Republicans balk.
    Just another example of the GROSS HYPOCRISY running rampant in the Republican Party. 🙁

    March 19, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. RobK

    What an idiotic thing to waste time on. I would like to see what performance metrics were used to compute the bonuses. If someone saves the company (and in this case the government too) a billion dollars, should they get a million dollar bonus (0.1%)? I don't know if that was a metric, but if it was, that bonus was worth it.

    March 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. sherry

    Mississippi Milke......The ones that got bonuses from companies that received bail out from us tax payers are being taxed at 90%.....Not indiviguals that make over 250,000.00 annually. I say right on.....those greedy folks that brought all this financial crisis on us do not deserve a dime.

    March 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. JJ12345

    The problem is the government coming in and retroactively altering contracts or being singled out for taxes

    March 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. JJ12345

    Honestlady March 19th, 2009 3:07 pm ET

    Good!!! I do have one question…why were republicans divided on this bill? Who would say no. Is this another case of repubs looking out for the wealthy????
    I would think that some voted against this because there are probably constitutional issues with this bill.

    March 19, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Jimmy the Greek

    The stock market is sinking again.

    Hmmmm I wonder if it has anything to do with the whip-saw antics of democrats in DC writing new tax code to target legally paid (Congress Approved) bonuses???

    March 19, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    Why don't these same "outraged" fools take the same stand toward themselves and stop with the lobbyist.... from 1998 to 2005, $ millions flowed in their direction to remove regulations that caused this mess. Let's tax congress as well.

    March 19, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    Well "Atlas Shrugged" has arrived, what am I working for if I'm going to get taxed at 90-100% of what I earn? How long will it take before inflation makes even a person making $250,000.00 lives in poverty?

    March 19, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Millie2640

    Wait, I'm confused... Republicans are opposed? Huh?! Wha?

    March 19, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Los

    "They should make him pay back all the campaign money he received from AIG. Barack too."

    Hey so does that mean Bush should return the money HE got from AIG during BOTH of his campaigns (totaling $200,000)?

    March 19, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. res50

    This is all well and good,personally I have a problem with the Government being two faced telling Co. like AGI they can give these bonuses behind closed doors. Then when the uproar begins they bring the CEO's into hearing and slap them around like a red headed stepchild and act like they had no clue this was going to happen with taxpayers money. Thats what happen when you don't read the legislation you put your stamp of approval on Washington.

    Now there going to turn around and take it back in the form of a tax, because they got caught in there little payback scheme to AGI for there past stuffing of Senate campaign cookie jars. Same old Washington just some different faces and new ways of sweeping dirt under the rug.

    March 19, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. kim

    I think some of you are missing the point... this isn't taxing all bonuses for anyone making over $250K per year... just for the companies that have to be bailed out because they so miserably failed to begin with. Why when a company fails so bad, would you want to give those that killed it a bonus. That's crazy. Not only does my company NOT pay bonuses for when the company fails, mine would actually fire the people. That's what should happen. You sign up to do a job... you fail miserably at it... and you should get a bonus for that? That's just nuts.

    Having said that... they should have stipulated absolutely NO bonuses to anyone in the company if you use our tax payers money. Then we wouldn't have to be worrying about this.

    March 19, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Millie2640

    To Mississippi Mike:

    The American dream is working hard, producing and EARNING what you get. Not a bonus from tax payer dollars!

    March 19, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Marc

    I agree with Eyitayo Onifade, this bill is unnecessary. If they dare to keep the bonuses (that they made ZERO efforts to achieve, it's all taxpayer's money), then just substract the total amount of the bonuses from the next part of the money they will receive. That's what the Obama administration hinted that they might do anyway.
    Mississipi Mike please stop the nonsense, you'll be 100% right IF they had worked and earned the right to have the bonuses. But they didn't worked, at least not enough to earn ANY bonuses at all. This bonuses are coming from the money they received to still be on the business! It was given/loaned to them for a complete different intention than fill their pockets!

    March 19, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Someone tell me why it was so important to elect democrats again? Hurry up 2010 & 2012

    March 19, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. candian pov

    I don't get some of the comments here. Most Americans are outraged that these bonuses were paid but yet many of you don't think a tax on it is a fair way to get it back. What's up with that? Why not? They got it from taxpayers so Treasury should be able to claw it back, otherwise the cheats that caused this mess can claim a legal precedent that would allow them to keep it in future.

    March 19, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Jackie in Dallas

    Okay, now that a bunch of you have dumped bile on both Dodd and Geithner, when are you going to grow up and remember that they don't function in a vacuum? When are you going to blame the consistent message for years (both Dem and Rep) that greed is good, and that the more money we can make for the rich, the more we'll get (and how much of THAT has come true)? This entire country has been living in a continuing dream that more is the answer for everything...more toys, more house, more cars, more tvs, more phones, more bailouts, more everything! Well, less criticism and more constructive comments would be rather nice now.

    Contracts were written that were not illegal and were enforceable unless the contractors failed to meet the terms. The real questions we should be asking were what those terms were and did those bonuses get paid in spite of defaulting on the terms of the contracts. Not a few of them were retention bonuses, which means that those people were agreeing to stay on...and they left. Duh. Default. 100% recovery for failure to meet the terms of the contract. If they were performance bonuses, did the contractors meet the requirements? If they led their group to billions in defaulted funds, they failed at any measurement of successful performance. Again, duh. Default.

    Yes, politicians are are just now learning this? Power corrupts. It's one of the universal axioms of humanity. But every person who turned their eyes away while they watched their Congress people do things they shouldn't, or even re-elected them, takes a share of the blame. Every person who invested in AIG because they were making money hand-over fist, wanting "their" share of all these obscene profits, bears some guilt. We have the right of accountability, but that means we are accountable, too.

    I've had no money to invest since President Bush walked into the Oval Office. I lost my job that February in 2001, and didn't get another one until after 13 months of hard job hunting, going through my savings, selling everything I could, and finally being saved from becoming homeless by a friend. I've only worked off and on since, until last summer. I've had no health coverage, no new cars, no new toys, and no investments or retirement. So I could lay blame or lay the foundation for a new life. I chose to lay the foundation for a new life. It's time the rest of the country did the same.

    March 19, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Phil Graham, Republican from Texas, is working for a "Swiss Bank". Some thinks make you hmmm.

    March 19, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Brian Crooks

    For everyone up in arms about "abusive use of the tax code," you don't need to worry about this happening to you unless you're an executive of a company and run it into the ground. They're not talking about taxing their income 90% or taxing everyone over a certain amount of income 90%, they're talking about taxing the bonuses of anyone who works for a bankrupt company that is being subsidized by taxpayer money 90%. Nobody in the Congress would ever put forward a bill to tax EVERYONE'S bonuses 90% or to tax the income of people whose companies are not bankrupt and are not receiving bailout funds 90%. RELAX. If these companies don't want to comply, fine, but they don't get the money.

    March 19, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Frank in Phoenix

    Nobody likes the idea of these bonus payouts but the concept of enshrining in policy the use of the IRS to target groups is dangerous. It's bad enough that previous administrations (Dem and GOP) have used the IRS has a hit squad but this is a 'slippery slope'.

    March 20, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
1 2 3 4