The Republican ‘alternative’ on AIG bonuses

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.