Pelosi Argues Bonus Tax Bill Is Already Working

Posted March 24, 2009 at 3:29pm

Echoing comments made earlier by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that House-passed legislation that taxes bonuses at American International Group is already paying off and may not need to become law after all.

Pelosi said the fact that 15 AIG top executives are now returning their bonuses is a signal that the House-passed bill “will have accomplished what we set out to do, which is to get the taxpayers’ money back. And to do it right away.—

Still, she said she wants to wait and see whether all of the executives return their bonuses, which would erase the need for the bill. AIG faced a firestorm of criticism for delivering $165 million in compensation after receiving $170 billion in taxpayer bailout funds.

House Democratic leaders last week raced to pass legislation to impose a 90 percent tax on the bonuses taken by executives at firms that took more than $5 billion in bailout dollars.

Despite the rapid House action, the Senate and White House have been cool to the idea of using the tax code to target an individual company, which has thrown the bill’s fate into question.

Pelosi said she backs Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s request for more authority to restructure the financial sector, although it will ultimately be put to a full House vote.

“I’m pleased to support it,— Pelosi said. “Of course, Congress will work its will. We’ll go through regular order to deal with it.—