Hoyer: House to Take Up New Bill to Restrict Bonuses

Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:55am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that he expects the House to pass a new bill restricting executive bonuses at bailed-out firms this week, following the chamber’s widely panned first attempt to tax the payments at 90 percent.

“This bill, I think, is more tightly drafted, and more consideration has been given to it, and it gives flexibility to the secretary of the Treasury,— Hoyer said.

Hoyer said the bill would respond to the public concern and outrage, which he described as “if you’re going to take our money, don’t give yourself big bonuses, big salaries.—

The House voted to tax the bonuses at federally bailed-out firms after it was revealed that American International Group had paid out $165 million in executive bonuses. About $50 million of those payments have since been returned voluntarily.

Hoyer also said he pressed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for a meeting with Members on the situation in Darfur. Hoyer led a delegation to the Sudan, and he said action is urgently needed to protect as many as a million lives at risk.

“That’s a real crisis, and we intend to pursue our focus on that,— Hoyer said.

And Hoyer repeated that he is “absolutely committed— to resolving the impasse over the D.C. voting rights bill, saying he has been distressed by the attachment of “extraneous— gun legislation to the bill.

“I have some optimism,— he said, noting that supporters of the issue have “come to grips with the fact that we need to deal with the gun issue.—

Hoyer, a key negotiator on the stalled measure, said he is “very hopeful— that the bill could move by the end of May.

Hoyer also said the “cash for clunkers” idea backed by President Barack Obama and proposed by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) and others would get “serious attention,— although Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has expressed concerns about adding another tax credit to the code.

Hoyer said other possibilities, such as using vouchers instead of tax credits, could be used instead.