Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2009

THE REPUBLICAN 'ALTERNATIVE' ON AIG BONUSES.... House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is drawing fire this afternoon for opposing a measure to recoup AIG bonus money, after complaining all week about how outrageous the bonuses are. House Democrats are on the offensive.

A spokesperson for GOP House leader John Boehner confirms that he will be voting No on a measure being introduced by House Dems today to slap a 90% tax on bonuses paid to AIG execs with family incomes topping $250,000 -- and a senior Democrat on the Senate side blasted him for expressing "manufactured outrage" about the AIG controversy.

Senate Dems are demanding to know whether Boehner's opposition -- which doesn't matter much on the House side because of the Dems' lopsided majority -- signals that GOP leaders will oppose the measure in the Senate, where the Dem margin is much slimmer.

"He will vote 'no' on the Democrats' bill, which will recoup some of the AIG bonus money eventually," Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel emails me. "He supports the House Republicans' better alternative, which would recoup all of the money immediately."

Right, and what's the "Republican alternative" on this? It's a non-binding resolution asking the Treasury Department to figure out a way -- the GOP's bill doesn't specify -- to recoup the money AIG paid in bonuses. Seriously, that's it. The "alternative" bill basically just passes the buck, telling Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in effect, "We don't have a policy per se, but be a mensch and go get all the money back." That's the "better" Republican "alternative" to the Democrats' plan to recoup the money through taxes.

And if Geithner didn't figure out a way to get the money back? Nothing happens. This, Boehner believes, "would recoup all of the money immediately."

And Republicans wonder why it's so difficult to take them seriously on policy issues.

Keep in mind, Democrats are likely to vote in droves to get the AIG money back, but if Republicans balk, the bill may very well fail. Alex Koppelman reminds us that the majority is "bringing the bill to the floor under a suspension of the rules which ... means that a supermajority -- two-thirds -- will be required for passage."

To get to two-thirds, the majority will need every Democrat in the chamber plus 36 Republicans. No one seems to know, at this point, whether the votes are there or not.

Steve Benen 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Why is the GOP so intent on losing more house seats in 2010? They're taking the fun out of this.

Posted by: g. powell on March 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

what a clever way to make the american public finally realize what tools these republican stooges are. you think there is outrage now, when they hear that republicans aren't going to really try to get the money back.....that will be real outrage!

Posted by: just bill on March 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Maria on March 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

They are waiting for Rush to tell them what to do.

From Wednesday:
Asked if Boehner's comments were justifiable, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) responded, "No. Does Boehner need any justification? It says it right there on his partisan hack license that he can say anything that he wants."

Posted by: ScottW on March 19, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Seems as if the Republicans do not understand the concept of diminishing returns, ergo flogging a dead horse, etc etc etc. If they were less hyper they would realize they should take a quick victory and then move on. But since they never took any economics courses -- otherwise they would not be promoting their neo-hooverian policies, Mark Sandford would not be their hero, and Limbaugh would be just another kooky bircher -- I suppose their verbal abuse of Obama and sanity in general will continue.

Posted by: Kurt on March 19, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

The republicans in this Congress have been extremely irresponsible just about 98% of the time (consistent with their ecent practices I know, but we are now in a crises) and the MSM have treated them as if they were the 'loyal opposition'. Who thinks the coverage on this latest and flagrantly tranparent cave in to AIG and 'the interests' will be treated differntly?

And Maria, keep that stuff to your crew.

Posted by: robert on March 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The House passed it 328-93.

Posted by: Danp on March 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Never pass! Probably count on Evan Bayh & his merry band of corporately owned DLC/DINO/Rethug-Lites to block this 'non-moderate' legislation.

Posted by: AngryOldVet on March 19, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I see the Republicans blocking this in the Senate (say, by 59-41) and winning the headline they cherish: "Congress Fails to Overturn AIG Bonuses". Then they turn it over to Rush and crew to lambaste Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi for being feckless and not listening to the man in the street.


Posted by: santamonicamr on March 19, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Angry old vet makes a good point: just how committed are these blue dog senators to their moderate cause? The first test case will be a pretty popular piece of legislation.

Posted by: g. powell on March 19, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Boehner and his limp-noodle, spaghetti-style brand oh hard-boiled politics now earns the GOP the right to call itself "the Party of Overcooked Pasta...."

Posted by: Steve W. on March 19, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Let 'em. Please, just LET the ReTalibans vote against getting this money back.

It's worth more than $165 million to get the ReTalibans identified with the crooks at AIG.

It will become the AIGOP.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 19, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a win/win situation for the Congressional Dems. Surely the blue dogs won't dare vote against it.

Posted by: CDW on March 19, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, ScottW, for pointing out that Frank zinger. His "partisan hack license" OMG, that is SO tagging the Man with the Tan.

Posted by: Lose the Tan on March 19, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The mess the Obama Administration finds itself in, as regards AIG(and probably other as yet unadvertised dens of thieves passing as banks), is a result of the President's misbegotten and doomed-to-failure efforts at "bipartisanship". Rather than push through a bill capping payouts(as first proposed), the Administration got into a wordgame discussion leading to the bill passed last month....with language opening the door for what has happened. He needs to realize that with the Republicans, and their robber baron constituents, there is no such thing as bipartisanship. He needs to use the majorities he has, and the bully pulpit he can climb on anytime he wants, and get done the job which needs to be done....in quicktime.

Posted by: dichen on March 19, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

So the Repugs want to pass it on to TimmyBoy who they don't trust anyway. This thing has become a real hot potato.
Oh well, methinks the American public are being played for fools by both parties right now. We have one party who has backed their corporate selves into a corner and another who might be masquerading as populists when they truly aren't (After the Fact Populists).
Who really didn't think we would find out about this eventually?

Posted by: whichwitch on March 19, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

of course the real point of the Republican Alternative is not to solve the problem or even pass the buck: it is to set Geithner up as part of their crusade against him, which will then be painted as how badly Obama did in general at picking a cabinet. It is all political theater for them - its all they have left.

and i have to say i got a good chuckle out of the fact that our pron spammer was "Maria." In a different progressive blog life, I knew a Maria. . . *snicker*

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 19, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they're in a bind, aren't they?

Their real leaders in the Wingnutosphere have already come out against the very suggestion of stopping the bonuses to AIG's fallen idols being paid in full, so all the GOP in Congress can do is pitch for a sympathetic spin from the MSM by talking up a non-existant plan to get all the money back (by asking the Treasury to, y'know, do - something - about it) as cover for their inevitable bloc-vote against actually - doing - something about it.

I'm sure the MSM will carry water for them and try to provide cover, but once those votes are counted, the GOP is going to have AIG tattooed on its collective forehead as far as the electorate is concerned.

So unless Limburgh and Co change their tune PDQ, the GOP are going to be forced to do their own Charge of the Light Brigade re-enactment in full view of a very angry public. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of fekkers.

Posted by: Tony J on March 19, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

repub alternative:

Step 1) Pray
Step 2) Wait for Miracle to occur
Step 3) Money is returned

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 19, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

hmmm non-binding resolutions....which are essentially "helpful suggestions" rofl. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

They didn't learn of the pyrrhic sophistry of those from the Democrats.

Posted by: ICanHasBailout? on March 19, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

In a different progressive blog life, I knew a Maria. . . *snicker*

Now cut that out!

Posted by: The Other Maria on March 19, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

As I recall, that other Maria was really a Mary, an "educator" who lived in Chicago and didn't have a racist bone in her Hillary-supporting body, but also didn't trust any of her African-American neighbors any farther than she could have thrown them - which she would have if she could have...

Posted by: Stephen1947 on March 20, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Maria and Mary were two different people. Two very, very different people.

Posted by: Happy to Help on March 20, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Let Limbaugh pay the bonuses

Posted by: Cyber Rainbow on March 20, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

J Kirby-forgot ~#4~ WWJD (what would Jesus do)
repug alternatives....to AIG bonus paybacks

Posted by: RJ on March 20, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Can we just get rid of the repuge party they have proven time and time again they don't care for America they care for party only.They are a very sick group of people that never look at the big picture they will be the downfall of the US government.the last 8 years shows you how good they are at fixing things and also where the hell is osama bean looney?Those same repugs said they would get America's biggest mass murderer then said awww forget about osama we will get saddam instead.They said we will be greeted with flowers and open arms that the war would last only a couple of months.They are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

Posted by: rupugesShould be Beaten on March 21, 2009 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
-- Henry Mencken

I'd say Boehner was making a mistake but our nation DID vote for Bush twice.

Let's see... Johnny saves AIG criminals 90% x 165 million... about 150 mill. Wonder how much of that can help Steele beef up that paltry 5 mill he brought in for February....

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 21, 2009 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK



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