Thursday, March 19, 2009

Boehner: The American People Deserve to Get 100 Percent of Their Money Back

Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today delivered remarks on the House floor condemning taxpayer-funded bonuses for AIG executives and calling for passage of legislation that will allow American taxpayers to get 100 percent of their money back immediately. Full transcript of Boehner's remarks follow:

“Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, I caught a little grief five weeks ago when we had the stimulus bill on the floor. Remember the 1,100-page bill that no one had time to read and that no one did read? Obviously the President didn’t have time to read it either because in that bill was this one sentence. This one sentence that made it clear that someone knew that these AIG bonuses were about to be paid and they didn’t want them stopped. So somehow in the dark of night this one sentence was added to the bill so that AIG would pay these bonuses to their executives.

“This language wasn’t in the House bill. This language wasn’t in the Senate bill. This language showed up in the dead of night and no one got to see it. I’m wondering where did the language come from? Who wrote it? Who asked the conferees to put it in the bill? What conferees on the part of the House agreed to this? I’m looking for somebody to put their hand up.

“That’s the whole issue. This political circus that’s going on here today with this bill is not getting to the bottom of the questions of who knew what and when did they know it. Somebody was responsible to draw up this language. Someone brought it to the conferees. Someone brought it to the Democrat Leadership who wrote this bill in secret and put this language in there. But we have no idea who it was.

“Secondly, the bill before us tempts to recoup 90 percent of these bonuses. Why 90 percent? The American people are outraged. I’m outraged. And we just voted down an opportunity to bring a bill to the floor from our freshmen members that said, real simple, we ought to get 100 percent of this money back. We can get 100 percent back because the Treasury Secretary has the ability to get it all back. The Administration has the ability to get it all back. Why don’t we just get it all back? Why are we bringing this bill to the floor today to give members political cover when in fact the Treasury Secretary has the authority, the Administration has the authority to get all of it back? But, no, that got voted down. Our bill would have been a better bill.

“Thirdly, our colleagues, Mr. LaTourette and Mr. McCotter, have introduced a resolution of inquiry to get all of the documents surrounding communications between the Treasury, the Fed, and AIG to understand who was in the middle of this conversation? People have known about this for months and yet we just found out about it over the last 48 hours. And so we want this resolution of inquiry to be passed by the committee. We want to get to the bottom of all of this. But in the meantime do we have to have this political charade of bringing this bill out here? I don’t think so. I think this is a bad bill with bad consequences. We didn’t see the bill until last night. Nobody in the committee marked it up. Nobody debated it. And nobody understands the consequences of what we are about to do. How can we possibly vote yes on a bill like this? I yield back.”

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