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Incoming Senate Banking panel chair to hold hearing on stock market amid GameStop controversy

Incoming Senate Banking panel chair to hold hearing on stock market amid GameStop controversy
© Greg Nash

The incoming chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said Thursday he would convene a hearing on the state of the stock market amid bipartisan concern over how major trading platforms have responded to viral rallies in certain stocks.

“People on Wall Street only care about the rules when they’re the ones getting hurt. American workers have known for years the Wall Street system is broken – they’ve been paying the price,” Brown said in a Thursday statement. “It’s time for the [Securities and Exchange Commission] SEC and Congress to make the economy work for everyone not just Wall Street. That’s why, as incoming Chair of the Senate Banking and Housing Committee I plan to hold a hearing to do that important work.”

Brown is the latest and most powerful lawmaker to call for a congressional probe into why Robinhood and other popular online trading applications stopped or limited sales of several stocks Thursday that exploded in value over the past week. 

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Shares of GameStop, theater chain AMC, BlackBerry and Nokia have risen dramatically over the past week thanks to a crusade led by a Reddit community of amateur traders against hedge funds, most of which have invested heavily in bets that those stocks would soon collapse. 

That rally hit a massive speed bump Thursday when trading platforms popular among that Reddit forum either prevented users from buying more of those shares or limited their ability to take larger positions. While those platforms insisted they did so to protect customers from intense volatility, politicians in both parties have condemned them for blocking average users out of trades that larger firms were still able to make. 

“We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMarjorie Taylor Greene may be 'dangerous,' but she's not the first Sunrise Movement endorses Nina Turner in special election for Ohio House seat Islamic Jihad commander killed in airstrike, Israel says MORE (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, in a tweet.

Ocasio-Cortez called for the Financial Services panel to investigate Robinhood and any other platforms that locked out users from buying popular shares.

Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP resistance to campaign finance reforms shows disregard for US voters Bipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (Utah) and Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckSpace Force commander removed after comments on podcast GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump Cheney to any Trump-backed challenger: 'Bring it on' MORE (Colo.) also called for congressional probes.