Pressure mounts on Congress to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A bipartisan group pf 21 lawmakers are now rallying the House Administration Committee to get to work on a bill that would ban congressional lawmakers from buying and selling individual stocks. The group aims to gain traction for the legislation before the end of summer, when Congress breaks for August recess.

Congress has been debating a ban on members trading stocks for multiple sessions. But, lawmakers have consistently failed to act.

“Members of Congress should be putting the needs of their constituents and the American people first not their stock portfolios,” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), who is leading the effort.

The bipartisan group’s position is outlined in a letter they sent to the committee on May 11. It reads in part, “It has been clear from the public response to the aforementioned legislative proposals that the American people would like — and expect — the Congress to act. We must do more to restore public trust, and we believe this would be an important step in doing so. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to you working with us this Congress on this critically important issue on a bipartisan basis.”

The lawmakers said, in the House alone, six different pieces of legislation have been introduced to ban lawmaker stock trading. The lawmakers want the House Administration Committee to help Congress form consensus around one bill. They believe a stock trading ban for lawmakers is essential to maintain ethics and the public’s trust.

“When you look at these different bills, they have some differences. But, the differences are unimportant. The important thing is that we move something. That we tell the American people that we care we recognize the issue of appearance of impropriety,” said Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.).

Meanwhile last month in the Senate, a group of more than 20 lawmakers introduced a bill called the Ending Trading and Holdings in Congressional Stocks (ETHICS) Act. It would prohibit members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children from trading in individual stocks, commodities, and futures.

Full text of the legislation introduced in the Senate is available here.

A poll released last year by Data For Progress shows more than 70% of Americans support a ban.

Read the letter sent by House lawmakers to the Committee on House Administration below:

The bipartisan lawmakers want the Committee on House Administration to move on a bill to ban...
The bipartisan lawmakers want the Committee on House Administration to move on a bill to ban lawmaker stock trading(Congress)