U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly on the vote today to heavily tax AIG bonuses:
"As a person with a lifetime record of opposing tax increases, today I voted for a bill to tax bonuses awarded to executives who received federal bailout money. It was the least the House could do to reclaim hard-earned taxpayer money from Wall Street firms who insult American taxpayers by rewarding those responsible for our economic crisis.
"It's not the bill I would have preferred. I wanted to vote for the Republican alternative that would have recouped 100 percent of the bonuses. It would have done so by denying future federal funds to any company who did not recoup bonuses paid out under previous bailouts. It also would have required Treasury Department approval before companies could give future bonuses. I believe the bill would have been more effective and would have passed constitutional muster.
"Unfortunately, my Democratic colleagueswho stripped language banning bonuses from the stimulus bill and therefore allowed these paymentsdid not give members an opportunity to vote on the better bill.
"Right now, this was the only bill available to prevent AIG and other companies who receive bailout money to know of my outrage at giving outlandish bonuses to executives who failed the American people. These companies must get the message that the American people will no longer tolerate this behavior. Therefore, I voted for this bill.
"I look forward to working with my Democratic colleagues to pass meaningful legislation that will fix this loophole."