What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : General : Requiring publicly traded companies to allow shareholders to cast non-binding votes on compensation packages for top executives beginning in 2009 (H.R. 1257)/Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) amendment to require a study on whether the requirement would hinder a publicly traded company's ability to compete for executive candidates; if the study found that it did, the shareholder vote would not be required (2007 house Roll Call 242)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Requiring publicly traded companies to allow shareholders to cast non-binding votes on compensation packages for top executives beginning in 2009 (H.R. 1257)/Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) amendment to require a study on whether the requirement would hinder a publicly traded company's ability to compete for executive candidates; if the study found that it did, the shareholder vote would not be required
house Roll Call 242     Apr 20, 2007
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This vote was on an amendment to a bill requiring publicly traded companies to allow shareholders a say in the compensation packages of top executives. Proposed by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the amendment would have required the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a study on whether separate, non-binding shareholder votes on executive pay would hinder publicly traded companies' abilities to compete for the best available executive candidates. If the commission were to find that it would, the shareholder votes outlined in the underlying bill would no longer be required.

The legislation Price was seeking to amend would require that all publicly traded corporations conduct annual nonbinding advisory votes on the compensation of their executives beginning in 2009. A company's board of directors could disregard the shareholder's say, but supporters of the bill, including Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said that was unlikely.

The impetus for the bill was a growing concern among lawmakers as well as many economists that the widening discrepancy between pay for executives and working- and middle-class Americans was harmful for both the economy and social mobility.

"I think that this amendment gets to what the consequences of this underlying bill are," Price said. "It would ensure that this legislation will not compromise fair competition and a level playing field for publicly traded companies."

Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) responded: "I think this amendment makes clear how radical an idea the minority party thinks democracy is, whether it is in corporations or in government, and how wary they are of voting, whether in corporations, by shareholders or in politics."

Democratic opposition to Price's amendment was near unanimous, with only two Democrats voting in support. Twenty-four Republicans also voted against it. Thus, by a vote of 162 to 242, the House rejected an amendment to a bill requiring publicly traded companies to allow shareholders a say in the compensation packages of top executives that would have nullified the effect of the bill if the SEC determined it would have a detrimental impact on the ability of publicly traded companies to compete for top executives, and the legislation moved forward without the provision.

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