GOP support for CEO pay is sticking point on bailout. Make them vote for it publicly.

Today’s NY Times gives an update on the state of negotiations on the bailout package — the $700 billion bailout package for which the lame duck president who got us into this mess wants his package and nothing else:

But lawmakers in both parties voiced anger over the steep cost and even skepticism about the plan’s chances of success.

As heated debate began on Capitol Hill, Congress and the administration remained at odds over the demands of some lawmakers, including limits on the pay of top executives whose firms seek help, and new authority to allow bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage payments for borrowers facing foreclosure.

Yes. The GOP is fighting for the Carly Fiorinas of the world. Republicans are trying to protect those poor CEOs who have no one else to watch for them. Dana Milbank documented the GOP concern for the CEOs:

“While it is very appealing to think about executive compensation as being a part of this, one of the drawbacks to that is perhaps that we would have fewer entities participate in what is essentially a voluntary act,” Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.) said on CNBC yesterday morning.

“It should be up to the board of directors of a private corporation to set the compensation of an executive; it shouldn’t be Congress’s role,” Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.) proclaimed on CBS News.

Bush issued a statement yesterday warning lawmakers not to “insist on provisions that would undermine the effectiveness of the plan,” and White House press secretary Dana Perino, asked about Democrats’ plans to limit executive compensation, advised them to pass the legislation as Paulson proposed it, “the cleaner the better, and the quicker the better.”

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, went to the floor to decry those who would make the bailout legislation “flypaper for partisan add-ons.”

Call their bluff. After eight years, please just call their bluff.

If the Republicans are so committed to the nation’s CEOs who helped precipitate this mess (and we know they are), let them vote for protecting the multi-million dollar wages of the very men and women who got us into this mess, the very men and women we’re bailing out with YOUR money. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Pelosi should insist on a separate vote on the CEO pay provision. Make that a condition of the package. No deals behind closed doors. Make them vote. We deserve a roll call vote — and it will be good for the CEOs to see just who their friends are. Let Bush threaten a veto over the CEO pay provision. Embrace that.

With six weeks left to the election, the anger about the economic situation is palpable. People are pissed and worried. And, our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to bail out companies that are paying excessive salaries to their leaders. If the Republicans are so adamant about it, let them vote for it.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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