US & World

Congress votes to tax AIG bonuses

By a three-to-one margin on Thursday, the House voted to tax the bonuses paid to executives of AIG and other companies that received federal bailout money. KPCC's Washington Correspondent Kitty Felde reports that it was up to one House member from Los Angeles to help round up those votes.

Kitty Felde: Congresswoman Diane Watson is the regional whip for the Democratic Party. That means she spent her morning flying down the hallways of House office buildings, paying courtesy calls on fellow members to line up votes on the executive bonus tax bill.

Watson insists the measure is not just hot air. Earlier this week, AIG Chairman Edward Liddy got an earful on Capitol Hill from House Finance Chair Barney Frank.

Diane Watson: Liddy said that he's already getting death threats. So Barney said that he's been threatened even after death. (laughs) And so we have to do what we have to do. The people are livid. And you know it doesn't make sense that we're giving bonuses for bad performance. No.

Felde: The Senate is considering a similar measure, but with a 70 percent tax instead of the 90 percent passed by the House. And it's not over for big business on Capitol Hill. Democrat Brad Sherman of Sherman Oaks says he will introduce another measure to tax salaries over $500,000 paid to executives of firms taking federal bailout money.