WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite a split among Republicans, all of Minnesota’s GOP representatives voted today against a House-passed bill that provides for a 90 percent tax on bonuses for AIG and other financial institutions that received bailout funds last fall.
The measure, which passed 328-93, divided House Republicans, with 85 for it and 87 against. The state’s congressional delegation split along party lines, with five Democrats in support and three Republicans opposed.
“This is not going to fix the problem … it’s just a cover-up for government incompetence,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., after today’s vote.
“Congress again missed an important chance to act on this critical bill today,” Paulsen said in a statement. “Our common-sense approach would have recovered these bonus payments and, more importantly enacted policies to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, a number my colleagues instead sought short-term political cover through a massive, misguided tax increase that ignores the actions that led to this problem in the first place.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office labeled the measure that passed a “super tax.” Rep. John Kline also voted against the bill.
But Minnesota Democrats have said that the tax plan is the quickest and most targeted way for Congress to deal with the bonus debacle.
Rep. Jim Oberstar, who voted for the bill, said, “It’s the only tool we have legislatively to deal with the mismanagement by AIG.”
Rep. Tim Walz also voted for the legislation. In a statement, Walz said, “It will take back the taxpayer-paid bonuses these executives have received.”
“This bill will make sure that taxpayer dollars aren’t funding lavish bonuses at companies that have received bailout funds,” said Walz.
Also supporting the measure were Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Collin Peterson.
The House Financial Services Committee is expected to mark up more legislation next week.
The executive bonus issue exploded on Capitol Hill this week, when it was learned that AIG awarded millions in bonuses to current and former employees after taking billions from the government to stay afloat.
Cynthia Dizikes covers Minnesota’s congressional delegation and reports on issues and developments in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at cdizikes[at]minnpost[dot]com.