Senate approves bill banning insider trading by lawmakers, 96-3

The Senate voted 96 to 3 Thursday to prohibit members of Congress from using non-public information for personal financial gain but beat back a slew of amendments to further limit congressional perks.

The Senate action puts pressure on House Republicans to pass similar legislation to quell allegations of congressional self-dealing at a time when Congress’s approval rating is at an all-time low.

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House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorJohn Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Overnight Regulation: Supreme Court rejects GOP redistricting challenge MORE (R-Va.) on Tuesday criticized the Senate legislation as weak. His staff said he would move a strengthened version of the bill to the House floor at the end of the month.

Senators voted for an amendment Thursday to expand the legislation’s reporting requirements to members of the executive branch.
 
The legislation would mandate that lawmakers report all major transactions within 30 days and file financial disclosure reports electronically.

But lawmakers defeated several proposals to significantly reform the perks and powers critics charge have a corrupting influence on Capitol Hill.

Senators voted down a bipartisan proposal to permanently ban earmarks as well as an amendment to require lawmakers and senior staff to divest of stocks or put their stock holdings in blind trusts.

The amendment sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWhy Wasserman Schultz must go Sanders aide: Easier for Dems to unify if Wasserman Schultz steps down Dem senator: DNC head ‘has to make a decision’ on her own future MORE (D-Mo.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to permanently ban earmarks failed by a vote of 40-59.

A solid block of Republicans, including Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate backs equal pay for female soccer players Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules MORE (Tenn.), Roy BluntRoy BluntSenators hope for deal soon on mental health bill Cruz: VA secretary 'should resign' Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (Mo.), Thad CochranThad CochranSenate panel passes 4.5B defense bill Senate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' MORE (Miss.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (Maine), John HoevenJohn HoevenSenate panel approves funding boost for TSA Overnight Energy: Senate Dems block energy, water bill a third time Bison declared national mammal MORE (N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), James InhofeJames InhofePaul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (Okla.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiSenators float bipartisan wildfire bill Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal GOP chair pushes Obama official on Arctic drilling plan MORE (Alaska), Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Passing the Kelsey Smith Act will help law enforcement save lives Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (Kan.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSenate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Patients dying because of FDA inflexibility MORE (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerSenate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Senate Republicans ask Trump to soften his tone MORE (Miss.), voted to preserve Congress’s future power to earmark federal funds.

The amendment sponsored by Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Clinton urged to go liberal with vice presidential pick Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges MORE (D-Ohio) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyHonor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Sanders pans chemical safety reform deal MORE (D-Ore.) requiring lawmakers and senior staff to divest of stocks lost 26 to 73.

Senate leaders denied Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) a vote on an amendment to deny federal pensions to lawmakers who become lobbyists.

The anti-lobbying amendment raised the hackles of some senior lawmakers, including those planning to retire at the end of this year.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who will leave the Senate at the end of the 112th Congress, called the proposal “foolish.”

“Why should someone who has worked and accumulated some equity and is investing that in American businesses no longer be able to do that when they’re elected to public office?” he said Wednesday.

Leaders also denied a vote on an amendment sponsored by Sens. Michael BennetMichael BennetGOP Senate hopeful wants to go beyond Trump's Muslim ban Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill GOP ad calls Clinton 'a living history of scandal' MORE (D-Colo.) and Jon TesterJon TesterWasserman Schultz fights to keep her job It's time we empower veterans with entrepreneurial skills Dem introduces bill to block new government hacking powers MORE (D-Mo.) to permanently bar lawmakers from becoming lobbyists and restrict former staff from lobbying their old bosses in Congress for a period of six years.

Senators defeated another amendment sponsored by Paul to prohibit executive branch appointees and staff from having oversight, rule-making, and loan- or grant-making authority over companies in which they or their spouses have significant financial interest.

The amendment was designed to guard against the alleged improprieties stemming from the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacturer that received more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees.

A senior Senate Republican aide said GOP candidates would attack Democratic incumbents who voted against the so-called Solyndra amendment.

“Any Democrats who vote against this will face a bomb in the fall,” said the aide.

Brown, Tester and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDem senator: Sanders ‘doesn’t have a lot of answers’ Groups urge Senate to oppose defense language on for-profit colleges How Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform MORE (D-W.Va.) voted against the amendment.

The Senate also rejected a resolution sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) calling for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress.

But the underlying proposal to ban lawmakers from using private information they learn in the course of their duties to profit from stock trades or other transactions received broad bipartisan support.

“We tried to focus at the specific task at hand, closing loopholes to ensure that members of Congress play by the exact same rules as everyone else,” said Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Defense bill renews fight over military sexual assault MORE (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the legislation.

“This sorely-needed bill will establish for the first time a clear fiduciary responsibility to the people we serve, removing any doubt that the [Securities and Exchange Commission] and [Commodities Futures Trading Commission] are empowered to investigate and prosecute cases involving insider trading of non-public information that we have access to through our jobs,” she said.

Only three senators voted against final passage: Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.), Richard BurrRichard BurrThe Trail 2016: Hell breaks loose Burr, Ross in statistical dead heat in NC Senate race Senate panel advances spy policy bill, after House approves its own version MORE (R-N.C.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

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