WASHINGTON - Votes by Chattanooga-area House members were divided on a bill to tax the bonuses paid to employees by bailed-out companies, including insurer AIG.
Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., voted for the bill, saying it was necessary to recoup taxpayer dollars. But he also called the AIG bonus furor a political problem for Democrats, who had stripped out a provision in the stimulus package that would have banned such payouts.
"The AIG bonus problem is an American problem of greed and irresponsibility," Rep. Wamp said. "The vote today to ensure that money is appropriately returned to taxpayers is a step in the direction of restoring trust, but the majority party still must answer the underlying questions of who knew about this and why it was allowed."
Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., was among several Republicans who voted "no," saying the bill was an attempt by Democrats to cover up their lax oversight of bailout funds. He noted that he had voted against the original bailout bill.
"The whole process should have had conditions to it that would have prevented (the bonuses)," he said.
Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., missed the vote to attend the memorial service of a staffer's father in Nashville, but his office said that he would have voted for the bill if he had been present.
"I don't think AIG executives need another fine Italian suit," Rep. Davis said in a statement. "This is why I voted against the bank bailout. I did not want to put money into the very companies that created this mess, and now AIG has shown again the utter contempt they hold for this country and its people."
House votes to tax AIG employee bonuses and others
By The Associated Press
The tri-state portion of the 328-93 roll call Thursday by which the House passed legislation to slap punishing taxes on big employee bonuses from AIG and other firms bailed out by taxpayers.
A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.
Voting yes were 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans.
Voting no were 6 Democrats and 87 Republicans.
X denotes did not vote.
Democrats - Bright, Y; Davis, Y; Griffith, Y.
Republicans - Aderholt, Y; Bachus, N; Bonner, N; Rogers, Y.
Democrats - Barrow, Y; Bishop, Y; Johnson, Y; Lewis, Y; Marshall, Y; Scott, Y.
Republicans - Broun, N; Deal, N; Gingrey, N; Kingston, N; Linder, N; Price, N; Westmoreland, N.
Democrats - Cohen, Y; Cooper, Y; Davis, X; Gordon, Y; Tanner, Y.
Republicans - Blackburn, N; Duncan, Y; Roe, Y; Wamp, Y.