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House lawmakers demand Pelosi and McCarthy vote ‘quickly’ on bills banning Congress from stock trading

A group of more than two dozen lawmakers is urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to ‘quickly’ organize a vote on legislation that would ban members of Congress from owning or trading stocks , learned Fox News.

Fox News Digital has obtained a letter signed by 27 members of Congress – 25 House Democrats and 2 House Republicans – urging House leaders to hold a vote on the “Conflict Trade Ban Act” or the “Confidence in Congress Act”.

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“This common-sense bipartisan legislation is sadly necessary in light of recent misconduct and is supported by Americans of all political backgrounds,” they wrote.

In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act, the lawmakers wrote, which they said was an attempt “to prevent members of Congress from using congressional knowledge to their advantage in stock trading.”

“However, a recent investigation revealed that the STOCK law has been violated hundreds of times since 2020,” they wrote. “It is clear that the current rules are not working.”

The lawmakers also noted that in 2020, senators from both parties “took significant action after receiving closed briefings about COVID-19 but before the pandemic was fully understood by the public and had an impact.” on the market”.

The lawmakers were referring to investments made by Sen. Richard Burr, RN.C., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and then the senator. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., After a coronavirus briefing.

The transactions were reviewed in 2020 after concerns they used inside information to benefit their stock portfolios could have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, also known as the STOCK Act, passed in 2012, making it illegal for members of Congress. to engage in insider trading.

“While these senators apparently did not violate the letter of the law, as the Justice Department closed its investigations into these trades, this finding shows how disgracefully narrow the current law is,” they wrote. .

“There is no reason Members of Congress should be allowed to trade stocks when we should be focusing on our jobs and serving our constituents,” they wrote, adding that “it may mean that some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities.”

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“Who cares,” they wrote. “We came to Congress to serve our country, not to make a quick buck.”

The lawmakers noted that Americans “from all political walks of life support banning members of Congress from trading stocks.”

“At a time when public trust in Congress is low, holding ourselves to this standard would be an important step in regaining their trust,” they wrote.

At this point, several bipartisan bills prohibit members of Congress from owning or trading in stocks circulating in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan group of lawmakers criticized Pelosi and McCarthy for “twisting their hands on the bill to move forward”, saying it should be “no excuse to block a vote in the House on this issue”.

“We view the emergence of several bipartisan bills on this issue as a sign of broad grassroots support across Congress,” they wrote. “Good faith differences of opinion among members on the details of this legislation may be resolved by an amendment process.”

“While there are many difficult questions facing Congress, this one is easy,” they continued. “Members of Congress should not be allowed to own or trade individual stocks.”

They added, “Let’s do it.”

The letter was signed by Democratic Representatives Jared Golden, Rashida Tlaib, Mark Pocan, Tom Malinowski, Susan Wild, Conor Lamb, Katie Porter, Pramila Jayapal, Jesus Garcia, Mary Gay Scanlon, Abigal Davis Spanberger, Angie Craig, Kathleen Rice, Andy Levin, Bill Foster, Tom O’Halleran, Joe Neguse, Dean Phillips, Tim Ryan, Greg Stanton, Andy Kim, Melanie Stansbury, Ritchie Torres, Matt Cartwright and Haley Stevens.

Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz and Brian Fitzpatrick also signed the letter.

The letter comes as Pelosi has come under fire from both sides of the aisle for saying members of Congress and their spouses should be allowed to trade stocks under a “free market economy.”

Pelosi last week suggested she would consider proposals banning members of Congress to trade stocks during her elective term, a stark reversal from just a month ago, when she adamantly defended the practice.

“I told the House Administration Committee to look at all the bills that come in and see which ones — where the support is in our caucus,” Pelosi said last week. “If the members want to do that, I’m okay with that.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)/AP Newsroom)

Meanwhile, in the Senate, two separate bills were introduced last week that would ban stock trading by members of Congress and their spouses. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., introduced different versions of similar legislation.

Hawley’s version is called the “Congress Insider Trading Prohibition Act” and Ossoff’s version is called the “Congress Stock Trading Prohibition Act”.

Spouses of lawmakers are currently allowed to trade in businesses or industries that their partner can help regulate. But under the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012, members of Congress and their families are prohibited from profiting from inside information, and lawmakers are also required to report stock trades to Congress within 45 days. .

Meanwhile, President Biden “will let members of Congress” determine whether they should be allowed to trade stocks, amid scrutiny of lawmakers’ financial dealings, the press secretary said last week. the White House, Jen Psaki.

Psaki was asked if the president thinks members of Congress and their spouses should be banned from stock trading.

Biden is barred from trading stocks while he is president.

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“The president didn’t trade individual stocks when he was a senator,” Psaki said. “That’s how we approach it. We also believe that everyone should be held to the highest standard.”

She added, “But he will let members of the leadership of Congress and members of Congress determine what the rules should be.”