Democratic leaders in the House and Senate expressed their support for a ban on congressional stock trades this week.
It was a reversal in particular for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has expressed support for allowing members to continue making such financial transactions.
“I believe in it. I have asked our members to get together to try to come up with one bill. I would like to see it done,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday in his own statement.
The move would close a loophole that many have long said allows lawmakers to profit off of their positions in the Congress, where on various committees they can receive information that could be beneficial to stock trading from federal agencies and other sources that may or may not be public knowledge.
It’s unclear, however, what form the final band will take. Progressives on the left and populists on the right have pushed for the ban to extend to spouses, while leadership has not yet endorsed such a step. Several iterations of a bill to ban the practice are being floated by various Democrats including Sen Elizabeth Warren and Rep Katie Porter.
And Ms Pelosi’s statement in support of the ban on Wednesday also served to throw a wrench into the equation that could disrupt or stymie negotiations: A demand for the Supreme Court to be included in any requirement.
“It has to be governmentwide,” said Ms Pelosi.
She added: “The judiciary has no reporting. The Supreme Court has no disclosure. It has no reporting of stock transactions, and it makes important decisions every day.”
If a ban passes, it would be put in place following following the publication of of an investigation by Business Insider which revealed that numerous members of Congress on both sides of the aisle I’ll are regular violators of the stock act, which Governs how lawmakers are required to report their financial trades. Dozens of lawmakers in both parties are currently or were previously in violation of the act, according to Business Insider.
Along the top violators of that act, according to Business Insider, is Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, a Republican. The Trump loyalist expressed his strong opposition to such a ban on Wednesday, claiming that it would cool enthusiasm about running for office, but his words are unlikely to halt its progress.
“I think it’s ridiculous. They might as well start sending robots up here… I think it would really cut back on the amount of people that would want to come up here and serve,” he told The Independent.
Stock trading by members of Congress has long been a controversial issue. During the early months of the covid pandemic in 2020, Some were accused of using their inside knowledge about the US pandemic response for their financial transactions related to companies involved in sectors affected by the pandemic, which caused a nationwide recession. Chief among those targets of criticism was then senator David Perdue of Georgia, who lost his US senate seat after facing criticism on the issue from his successor, Jon Ossoff, who is now one of the leading proponents of the ban on the left.