GOP Grumbles as GM Spends $500M on Bonuses

Uncle Sam should come first, Republicans say

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 29, 2012 4:31 AM CST

(Newser) – General Motors had a great year last year—making a record profit and reclaiming its crown as the world's biggest automaker—but some lawmakers aren't happy about its plans to reward its workers. The company plans to pay bonuses of at least $182 million to white-collar workers today, on top of $332.5 million in profit-sharing it's paying factory workers, reports AP. The bonuses, of 8% to 14% of base pay, will go to most of the company's 26,000 salaried employees, many of whom make more than $100,000 a year. Some Republicans believe the government should get back the money it spent to save GM before anybody gets a bonus.

"As the company gives out bonuses, the Treasury Department needs to have an exit strategy for getting GM to repay the taxpayers for helping the company survive," says bailout critic Sen. Charles Grassley. The government has recouped more than $22 billion of the $50 billion it spent to rescue GM, but it still owns close to a quarter of the company. Its shares are worth $13.2 billion, and will have to more than double in price for the government to get all its money back. GM argues that the bonuses—which are being offered instead of pay raises—are necessary to prevent rivals from poaching its talent.

An assembly line worker  moves a door into position for a 2012 Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich.
An assembly line worker moves a door into position for a 2012 Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
A line worker checks vehicles at the General Motors Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich.
A line worker checks vehicles at the General Motors Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)
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