Bush, House GOP Side with CEOs Over Shareholders
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 01:14:47 PM EDT
This afternoon the House of Representatives held an important vote on legislation that would, for the first time, allow shareholders of corporations to at least have a say in the salaries given to executives. While the legislation did not give shareholders veto power, the power to make a statement of approval or disapprobation could go a long way towards reining in excessive CEO pay -- particularly in cases in which corporations are hemorrhaging money but executives still receive fat paychecks and ridiculous bonuses.
Yet on this sensible piece of legislation, how did most House Republicans vote? Nay, naturally. Of the 184 memberds of the House Republican caucus who voted on this bill this afternoon, fully 70 percent (129) voted in the opposition. This group not only included members of the leadership, like Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Roy Blunt, but also potentially endangered members, including (and I got a lot of them, but certainly not all of them): Vern Buchanan (FL-13), Mike Castle (DE-AL), Tom Davis (VA-11), John Doolittle (CA-04), Phil English (PA-03), Vito Fossella (NY-13), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Peter King (NY-03), Randy Kuhl (NY-29), Tom Latham (IA-04), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Dave Reichert (WA-08), Rick Renzi (AZ-01), Tom Reynolds (NY-26), Mike Rogers (MI-08), Jean Schmidt (OH-02), Chris Shays (CT-04), Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Heather Wilson (NM-01).
But it's not only the House Republicans, including some of their most vulnerbable members, who are staking out a position against the average shareholder and in favor of corporate CEOs making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars each year (even as some of their companies lose money). Today we learned that the White House also opposes such a move by Congress to empower everyday Americans to take real ownership over their investments, just as the extremely wealthy are able to do. While the President has apparently stopped short of issuing a veto threat, it has nonetheless indicated quite clearly to the American people just whose side it's on.
Judging by the vote in the House today, Democrats could be within fewer than 10 votes of a veto-proof margin in the House (if you count the dozen or so Democrats not voting as "ayes"). Now action will move to the Senate where the corporatists up for reelection in 2008 -- the John Sununus, Gordon Smiths, Norm Colemans and others -- will have to decide whether they care more about appeasing their big-money supporters or the people who will actually have more of a say as to whether or not they will have another term in Congress. My guess is that most of these endangered Republicans, just like their brethren in the House, are dense enough to believe that they can get away with voting for corporate CEOs and against the average shareholder, but we shall have to wait and see.
Tags: 110th congress, AZ-01, CA-04, CEO Pay, CT-04, DE-AL, FL-13, George W. Bush, IA-04, MI-08, MI-11, NJ-05, NM-01, NY-03, NY-13, NY-26, NY-29, OH-02, PA-03, Republicans, Shareholders, VA-11, WA-08 (all tags)