Democrats break with leaders over congressional stock negotiation

The bills have broad support – the 42 co-sponsors of Ms. Spanberger’s TRUST in Congress Act include Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Harris of Maryland, all firmly on the Trump wing of their party – and if anything, they put Ms Pelosi in the spotlight.

“You have the Speaker of the House doing business and her husband making millions and millions of dollars a year,” Mr. Hawley said.

Democrats are equally eager to compare their position to that of Ms. Pelosi. They said her refusal in December to consider a ban on stock trading – “We are a free market economy,” she said when asked about the push – made the issue a cause celebre.

“Speaker, I don’t want to call him outright, but a handful of members have put decades and decades here. They’re approaching this from a different time and from a different perspective,” Ms. Stevens, who almost certainly faced another Democrat, Andy Levin, in the upcoming House primaries in redistricted Michigan.Both signed last week’s letter demanding action on a trade ban.

Democratic leaders remain wary. They argue that once Congress starts trying to regulate its own members outside of investments, it’s hard to draw the line between what’s allowed and what’s not. If stock ownership is prohibited because it could conflict with the law, would having student loan debt make it inappropriate for a member to lobby for loan relief? Would owning real estate confer an undue personal interest in environmental or land-use policy?

Mr. Roy admitted that there were complexities, but, he said, a line had to be drawn.

“If you’re talking dirt, well, are you talking about your family farm or engaging in thousands of real estate transactions?” He asked. “Are you buying and selling and engaging in developing commercial real estate transactions while you’re in Congress?” There are limits to what we are supposed to do.

Drew Hammill, Ms Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said the speaker had asked Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and chair of the House Administration Committee, to consider a series of proposals to lawmakers regulate trade, including a ban on owning shares. Ms Lofgren is also considering increasing penalties for “unacceptable non-compliance” with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, a 2012 law that requires lawmakers to disclose their stock transactions, a step he said supported. by Ms. Pelosi.

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