House lawmakers urge Pelosi to bring stock trading ban to the floor
A group of 27 House members on Monday called on Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to swiftly bring a bill to bar lawmakers from trading stocks to the House floor.
“There is no reason that members of Congress need to be allowed to trade stocks when we should be focused on doing our jobs and serving our constituents,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), wrote in a letter to House leaders.
“Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities. We don’t care. We came to Congress to serve our country, not turn a quick buck.”
The House members pointed to the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which would prevent members of Congress and their immediate family from trading stocks, and the TRUST in Congress Act, which blocks stock trading by lawmakers and their senior staffers, as bipartisan bills that would restore public trust in Congress.
“We understand that multiple bipartisan bills to ban members of Congress from owning or trading individual stocks have been introduced in the House. However, handwringing over which bill to advance should be no excuse for stalling a House floor vote on this issue,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that differences between the proposals can be resolved through amendments.
Twenty-five House Democrats signed on to Monday’s letter, along with two Republicans: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Matt Gaetz (Fla.).
The letter comes after Pelosi softened her position on proposals to prevent lawmakers from trading stocks. After previously expressing opposition to the bills, Pelosi told reporters last week that she wouldn’t block a stock trading bill if it gets enough support.
“To give a blanket attitude of we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t buy into that. But if members want to do that, I’m OK with that,” Pelosi said.
The movement to bar members of Congress from trading stocks has unprecedented momentum following explosive allegations of insider trading against prominent lawmakers and evidence that dozens of lawmakers are ignoring existing stock trading rules.
Public polling has also pushed the issue to the forefront. Two-thirds of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks, including a large majority of Democrats and Republicans, according to a Data for Progress poll released last week.
Still, it’s unclear whether the stock trading legislation will get enough backers to warrant a House vote. As of Monday, the top two proposals each had around 30 House co-sponsors.
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