By Peter Schroeder - 03/22/12 06:37 PM EDT
While members in both parties and chambers were eager to support the legislation, it was not without some controversy. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was loudly critical of a decision by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to trim an amendment Grassley offered that would require political intelligence firms, which seek out information on lawmaking to sell to investors, to register as lobbyists do.
Grassley ended up being one of just three “nays” on the final bill, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opted to simply take up the House version as opposed to establishing a conference committee where he could push to reinstate Grassley’s amendment. Instead, the Senate-approved bill simply requires a study on the industry by the Government Accountability Office.
Lieberman also opposed the registration requirement, but said he might be open to it down the road.
“I was concerned that in the movement to add a lot to the bill … that it was beginning to tread on First Amendment rights to petition Congress,” he said. “I didn’t want to act in haste. There may be a problem here, but it needs more thoughtful study.”
Cantor, who steered the bill through the House, also hailed the bipartisan nature of its passage.
“The STOCK Act is a product of bipartisan efforts in the House and the Senate and will help restore the public’s trust in their elected officials,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the original sponsor of the legislation who was loudly and repeatedly critical of Cantor for trimming her similar political intelligence provision, struck a laudatory note following the Senate vote.
“Today, we’ve passed one of the most bipartisan bills in this Congress, and I’m proud that my colleagues have joined me to make clear that the practice of insider trading in Congress needs to be outlawed once and for all,” she said. “This has been a long and turbulent debate, but one that we needed to have to serve our constituents. It is a fight I’m proud to have waged.”