UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 19, 2009

WHO ALLOWED THE BONUSES?

Chris Bowers, Open Left - As is now widely reported, Senator Dodd included language in the stimulus bill that would have retroactively blocked excessive compensation for employees at financial institutions receiving federal bailout money. However, at the request of the Treasury Department and the Obama administration, that language was stripped during the conference session. Senator Dodd was not in the conference session, but the following ten people were:

Senate:
Harry Reid D
Max Baucus D
Daniel Inouye D
Charles Grassley R
Thad Cochran R

House:
Dave Obey Wisconsin D
Charles Rangel NY D
Henry Waxman Calif D
Jerry Lewis Calif R
Dave Camp Michigan R

Which conferees stripped the language? Given that all three of the four Republicans (Camp was the exception) voted to prevent restrictions on excessive compensation, we can pretty much count on them. Given that Charles Rangel was recently publicly opposed to clawing back the bonuses (although he supports it now), we can probably count on him, too. However, that is only four. In order for the language to have been stripped, the support of two other conferees would have been needed.

Unfortunately, until someone fesses up, we will never know who the other supporters were. . . It is worth noting that at least three of the conferees, Reid, Baucus and Grassley, are now at the forefront of legislative efforts to get the bonuses back through an AIG-targeted tax. It is highly likely that at least one of those conferees supported stripping Dodd's language, and yet is now making heroic noise about getting the money back via a new tax.

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