Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Kanjorski Statement on AIG Bonuses

From the inbox:

Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (D-PA), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, expressed aggravation and disappointment about reports that American International Group (AIG) will pay $100 million in bonuses to employees at the very business unit that caused the company to lose tens of billions of dollars and seek a federal bailout. These bonuses only highlight the need for the Kanjorski amendment which will prevent the existence of companies that are deemed “too big to fail,” like AIG.

“I am deeply disappointed that AIG has, yet again, failed to halt excessive employee bonuses after receiving access to more than $180 billion in taxpayer money to keep the company afloat,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “AIG is a shining example of why we cannot allow companies to become “too big to fail.” The Kanjorski amendment will make it so that in the future, companies including AIG, will not be able to become so interconnected that they could severely damage the American economy if they collapse. Last year, I held two hearings on these issues, including one where the then CEO of AIG testified. I will continue to examine these matters as Congress works to ensure that the government swiftly winds down its support for AIG.”

Chairman Kanjorski added, “The House passed a Wall Street reform bill which includes this amendment. Just last month, the President expressed his support for a similar proposal. Now, the Senate must do its part by passing Wall Street reform legislation which includes the Kanjorski amendment or similar language in the larger bill. AIG’s bonuses only reemphasize that we must take action as soon as possible to better protect the American taxpayers and the American economy. I look forward to the day when the phrase ‘too big to fail’ is no longer a part of our vocabulary.”

Chairman Kanjorski has been a leader in crafting landmark Wall Street reform legislation to work to prevent future financial crises and better protect every American. H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in the House in December. The bill includes the Kanjorski amendment which would work to prevent another situation like we encountered with AIG. Specifically, the amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected, or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well-capitalized and healthy. Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become “too big to fail.”

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