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Senator: Cap pay at $400K for Wall Street 'idiots'

No employee of firms taking bailout money should make more than U.S. President, according to Missouri's McCaskill.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Barack Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.

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."

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," he added.

McCaskill's proposal comes three days after struggling banking giant Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) - which has taken about $45 billion from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program - reversed plans to accept delivery of a new $45 million corporate jet, under Treasury Department prodding. To top of page

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