The vote to tax 90 percent of AIG bonuses has split U.S. House Republicans. The measure passed easily Thursday – 323 to 93 – but divided the GOP vote, with 85 voting for it and 87 against. Even Minority Leader John Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor fell on opposite sides of the issue; Boehner “no” and Cantor “yes.” Montana’s lone congressmen, Rep. Denny Rehberg, fell in Cantor’s camp. In an e-mail, he said:
“I didn’t support the AIG bailout in the first place, so taking back at least some of that tax money is a good first step toward fixing the problem. Montanans are getting a good look under the hood of Washington, D.C. and understandably they aren’t happy with what they see. But if we’re going to start taking money back, let’s get it all back.”
Congress is basically trying to save face by imposing income taxes on bonuses handed out by AIG, a company taxpayers paid billions to bailout. Still, it’s interesting that House Republicans, who were so unified in their opposition to the stimulus, were anything but in this case. <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/" title="From POLITICO’s Glenn Rush”>From POLITICO’s Glenn Rush:
Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are telling Republicans to vote their conscience on the bill.
Cantor isn’t saying how he would vote on the measure.
And a senior GOP aide said the conference would likely split on the vote, with conservative members of the Republican Study Group opposing the tax and members in more competitive districts casting their lot with Democrats.
Rehberg defeated his 2008 challenger Democrat John Driscoll by a more than 30 percent margin, though Driscoll did little campaigning.
CORRECTION: This story originally misstated how Rehberg voted. I apologize for the mistake.
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