The Senate on Monday voted 93-2 to move forward with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, legislation that would prevent members of Congress from making investments and trades based on non-public information.
The bill, originally sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Overnight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Senate Dems call for investigation into Wells Fargo's wage practices MORE (D-N.Y.), would ensure that existing insider trading prohibitions apply to members of Congress and staff.
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidCongress steamrolls Obama's veto Grassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq MORE (D-Nev.) scheduled the cloture vote on the motion to proceed on the bill Thursday after President Obama demanded action on the issue in his State of the Union speech.
"Members of Congress and their staffers have the duty to the American people," Reid said. "They may not use privileged information they get on the job to personally profit. [This bill] will end any confusion over whether members of Congress can be prosecuted for the serious crime. They can be."
Several members of the Senate, including Brown, Gillibrand and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), spoke in favor of the bill in the hour before the vote on Monday, but no senators spoke against it or seemed interested in slowing its progress. Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him MORE (R-Okla.) and Richard BurrRichard BurrDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race The Trail 2016: Fight night Poll finds races for president, Senate tight in North Carolina MORE (R-N.C) were the only members to oppose it.
The STOCK Act saw a surge of support late last year when an investigation done by "60 Minutes" raised questions about profitable trades made by several high-ranking members of Congress, including Speaker of the House John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Both lawmakers denied making trades based on inside information.
Brown said from the floor on Monday the "60 Minutes" investigation had “shocked” him.
"I was shocked by this report, I think we all were," Brown said. "[M]embers of Congress should not be lining their pockets on insider information. Serving our country is a privilege. I believe we must level the playing field and show the American people that the United States Congress does not consider itself to be above laws that apply to everyone else.”
The White House announced its support for the Senate bill on Monday.
The bill “will help to limit the corrosive influence of money in politics and ensure that the Congress is playing by the same set of rules as everyone else," read the Statement of Administration Policy released by the White House. “[I]t is an important first step to prevent Members of Congress from profiting from their positions."
Senate consideration of the bill comes as House Republicans are still deliberating on how to proceed with legislation, H.R. 3549, that would have a similar effect which was penned by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer BachusSpencer BachusThe FDA should approve the first disease-modifying treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Study: Payday lenders fill GOP coffers Pope Francis encourages building bridges to address challenges MORE (R-Ala.)