President Obama caps pay to bank executives receiving bailout money - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

President Obama caps pay to bank executives receiving bailout money

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WASHINGTON. - President Obama announced plans Wednesday to put a leash on Wall Street executives who want government bailouts.

It's an attempt to halt some of the outrageous spending that's made embarrassing headlines in recent days. It's also an attempt to show Congress that government money isn't being wasted.

As the opening bell rang on Wall Street there was a bell of another sort tolling in Washington.

President Obama unveiled new rules to curb executive excesses.

"For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste - it's a bad strategy - and I will not tolerate it as president," said President Obama.

If CEOs want government bailouts they'll have to limit their pay to $500,000 a year.

It's an effort to make the president's huge stimulus package a little easier for Congress to swallow.

As the Senate continues its debate Wednesday, GOP lawmakers are still convinced that the package is less stimulus than trillion dollar shopping spree.

"The interest alone will be costlier then the Louisiana Purchase in now dollars - or the amount the United States spent to land on the moon," said Arizona Senator John McCain.

"There's plenty of room to cut in this bill. And it's time we started doing some of it," said Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Meanwhile, the nation's mayors presented a united front in support of the plan.

They met at the white house before heading to Capitol Hill to twist the arms of lawmakers.

They say they're not going home empty handed.

"We as mayors are going to be a stone in the show until we get our people back to work," said Trenton, New Jersey Mayor Douglas Palmer.

Obama warns of catastrophe if stimulus delayed

President Barack Obama says the recession will turn into a "catastrophe" if the economic stimulus is not passed quickly.

Obama rejected several criticisms of the plan: that tax cuts alone will solve the problem, or that longer-term goals such as energy independence and health care reform are not also critical to address at the same time.

The White House released some of Obama's remarks ahead of an event on executive compensation limits. Obama subtly referenced his win in November while arguing that recalcitrant lawmakers need to get behind his approach.

Obama urged members of Congress "to act without delay" while also promising to "work to make it stronger."