Congresswoman Open to Obama Plan on Recouping AIG Bonus Money

By Lindsey Ellerson

Mar 24, 2009 4:45pm

ABC News’ David Chalian and Rick Klein report: Despite her vote in favor of imposing a 90 percent tax on those AIG employees who received some of the $165 million in bonuses, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) told us on ABC News Now’s "Politics Live" that if President Obama has a better plan to get that money back, she is prepared to hear it.

"I thought it was outrageous for AIG because they have gotten so much taxpayer dollars for them to be giving these kind of bonuses and I wanted to make it very clear, this was the option that was presented with that the only we could really get that money back for the American public was to tax it at a very high level, so I voted for it," said Rep. Schwartz.  "I do believe that we ought to get that money back one way or another.  If the president has a better idea, I’m certainly open to listening to that," she added.

Congresswoman Schwartz appeared eager to move beyond the AIG bonus controversy and instead focus on getting the president’s budget (more or less) passed through Congress.

"I can tell you that it is also our responsibility as members of Congress to make some changes, to give that feedback to the White House.  I mean, this budget isn’t going to be exactly the way he presented it to us, but in terms of the broad concepts about what we believe in, that will in fact be held whole," she said.

When asked if she thought President Obama’s health care reform initiatives should be considered as part of the budget reconciliation process — which would limit debate and only require the far easier simple majority of 51 in the Senate to pass as opposed to the 60 vote threshold required to avoid a filibuster — Rep. Schwartz toed the White House line. 

"We want to work no this in a bipartisan way in the House and the Senate.  If we don’t get that kind of cooperation, we don’t want to go another four, five, ten years without taking on something that is so critically important to the American people," she replied.

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