Under Pressure

Companies Push for Bigger Bailouts

They must have overheard Citigroup's conversation with the feds: Several banks, two carmakers, and AIG, America's biggest insurance company, were back in DC on Monday fighting for billions more in bailout funds. AIG received $150 billion—the largest individual bailout to date—in late 2008, but the company has continued to flail and is now seeking tens of billions more. General Motors and Chrysler would like $22 billion to add to the $17 billion they received early this year. Meanwhile, the Obama administration confirmed that Citigroup is in negotiations to relinquish up to 40 percent of its company to taxpayers and the US in exchange for some cold, hard cash. AIG is viewed by some as a test case on the bailout dynamics—after the government took an 80 percent stake in the company last fall, the insurer suffered severe losses and is struggling to stay afloat.