White House National Economic Council Director Brian DeeseBrian DeeseMomentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks Hillicon Valley — Airlines issue warning about 5G service Airlines warn of 'catastrophic' crisis when new 5G service is deployed MORE on Friday expressed support for legislation to bar members of Congress from trading stocks during an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
“I think that that’s certainly sensible. It’s a rule that we all operate by and live by in the executive branch,” Deese, who serves as President BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE’s top economic adviser, said of the proposal.
"There's a lot of distrust and mistrust around how politics works, around the political process," he added. "One of the things that we need to do across the board is restore faith in our institutions, whether that be Congress and the legislative branch, whether that be the Fed and otherwise and so anything we can do to try to restore that faith, I think makes a lot of sense."
The White House noted Friday that Biden has not yet endorsed any proposals surrounding congressional stock trading.
“As Brian said this morning, President Biden believes that all government agencies and officials, including independent agencies, should be held to the highest ethical standards, including the avoidance of any suggestion of conflicts of interest,” a White House official told The Hill. “At this early point in the legislative process, the White House has not endorsed any bill text.”
Still, Deese’s comments add momentum to a growing bipartisan push to bar lawmakers and their immediate family members from owning or trading individual company stocks.
On Wednesday, Sens. Jon OssoffJon OssoffMissouri Senate candidate says Congress members should go to jail if guilty of insider trading Perdue proposes election police force in Georgia Ossoff and Collins clash over her past support for voting rights legislation MORE (D-Ga.) and Mark KellyMark KellyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Filibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats Missouri Senate candidate says Congress members should go to jail if guilty of insider trading MORE (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill that would require sitting members of Congress, their spouses and dependent children to divest from securities or transfer them into a blind trust. That proposal follows several other bipartisan bills to prevent lawmakers from trading stocks.
Lawmakers’ stock trades have drawn intense scrutiny after Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Pelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (R-N.C.) and others unloaded stocks just before the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the market in early 2020, drawing federal insider trading investigations. Business Insider has since identified more than 50 lawmakers who violated stock trading rules by failing to disclose their transactions.
The issue came to the forefront after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Democrats hope to salvage Biden's agenda on Manchin's terms MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters last month that lawmakers should not be barred from trading stocks, as long as they are complying with congressional rules meant to prevent insider trading.
“We’re a free-market economy,” she said. “They should be able to participate in that.”
In a recent poll from conservative advocacy group Convention of States Action, 76 percent of voters expressed support for banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks, including 70 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Republicans and nearly 80 percent of independents.
Stock trading scandals have also hit the Federal Reserve, which is instituting tougher ethics rules in response.
Two of the central bank's senior officials resigned after they were found to have made huge investments in stocks at the outset of the pandemic. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida also resigned on Monday after failing to disclose the full extent of his stock trades.
— Updated at 2:11 p.m.