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Angry senator wants pay cap on Wall Street 'idiots'

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill wants salary cap on employees of firms getting bailout money
  • Senator's move comes day after president slammed executive bonuses
  • "They don't get it. These people are idiots," senator says of execs
  • Bill would cap execs' pay at $400,000, the amount Obama earns
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.

"You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses," an angry Sen. Claire McCaskill says.

"You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses," an angry Sen. Claire McCaskill says.

An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money.

Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States.

Obama's current annual salary is $400,000.

"We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses." Video Watch McCaskill's heated words »

McCaskill's proposed compensation limit would cover salaries, bonuses and stock options.

On Thursday, Obama said the prospect that some of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout could end up paying for bonuses to managers of struggling financial institutions was "shameful."

The president said it was the "height of irresponsibility" for executives to pay bonuses when their companies were asking for help from Washington.

"The American people understand we've got a big hole that we've got to dig ourselves out of, but they don't like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up," Obama added.

McCaskill's proposal comes three days after struggling banking giant Citigroup -- which has taken about $45 billion from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program -- reversed plans to accept delivery of a $42 million corporate jet. The company changed its mind under Treasury Department prodding.

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Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended corporate bonuses Friday, saying that cutting them also means slashing jobs in the Big Apple.

"If you somehow take that bonus out of the economy, it really will create unemployment," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores, so everything has an impact."

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