Stimulus bill has bonus pay provision

Feb. 16, 2009 at 8:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A provision on bonus pay in the $787 billion stimulus package will weaken some firms, a Washington financial firm lobbyist said.

The amendment to the bill written by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., would allow the government to "negotiate for reimbursements if those payments were contrary to the public interest," USA Today reported Monday.

In effect, the provision would allow the government to negotiate with executives for the return of bonus money already paid. It also caps bonuses for the top executive of a firm that accepted $25 million in government assistance and the top 20 in a firm that accepted more than $500 million to one-third of their base salary.

The system would flip the bonus-pay system on its ear. By example, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein took home $67 million in bonus pay in 2007, above a salary of $600,000, the newspaper said.

Scott Talbott at the Financial Services Roundtable, told USA Today, "Once you go beyond top execs to restrict commissions, you undermine the strengths of the institutions."

Senior White House aide David Axelrod said U.S. President Barack Obama would look for "an appropriate approach."

The president is expected to sign the stimulus bill Tuesday.

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