HomePoliticsHere’s Why Congress Won’t...

Here’s Why Congress Won’t Ban Members from Stock Trading

How is congressional stock trading like the weather? Everyone complains about it. Yet nobody ever does anything about it.

Almost exactly one year ago (on July 29, 2022), then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested he would support this reform, saying, “What I’ve told everybody, we will come back, and we will not only investigate this, we will come back with a proposal to change the current behavior [stock trading].”

We’re still waiting, Kev. And I’m not the only one who has noticed his lack of action. “Speaker McCarthy needs to put a stop to the culture war nonsense his party is pushing and deliver on the promise he made last year–common sense, bipartisan reforms that a majority of Americans support,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) in a statement.

Craig is one of six members, which include Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who signed a letter on the one-year anniversary of McCarthy’s promise, urging him to honor his commitment this week.

Keep in mind, this proposed reform is wildly popular.

According to a survey conducted in May by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, 87 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats favor banning members of Congress (and their spouses and dependents) from trading individual stocks.

You couldn’t get 87 or 88 percent of Republicans and Democrats to agree on Dolly Parton’s music or their favorite pizza. And this survey result is merely the latest in what is a steady drumbeat of support for banning congressional stock trading.

On July 19, Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced bipartisan legislation to do just that.

If you’re keeping score, (a) the American public overwhelmingly wants to do this, and (b) there is interest in both chambers of Congress and both major political parties.

Shouldn’t this ban be a slam dunk for a political leader looking to score a legislative victory?

Apparently not. And McCarthy isn’t the first House Speaker to be accused of merely feigning interest in the subject.

Almost everybody is theoretically in favor of this reform, yet, so far, yet there has not been the political will to coalesce around one bill.

In December 2021, in response to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio‐Cortez’s tweet saying, “It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office,” then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on efforts to ban stock trading for Congress, replying, “We are a free‐market economy.”

Pelosi ultimately caved to pressure from her own party. But rather than embracing an existing bill that might have passed, such as the one authored by Spanberger, Pelosi tapped an ally, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D‐CA), to write a new bill.

The results left reform supporters accusing her of opening the door to “fake” blind trusts.

“The Speaker has accomplished something I’d have thought impossible,” lamented Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration. “She has produced a congressional stock trading ban I must oppose.” Spanberger characterized the debacle as “a failure of House leadership.”

Did Team Pelosi introduce a poison pill into this bill to kill it? At least one Republican seemed to think so.

“I think there’s a lot of effort to purposely, kind of, make this die under its own weight,” declared Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) who co-sponsored Spanberger’s bill. “There are a lot of people in the body who would rather not restrict their ability to continue to trade.”

Fast forward ten months, and we seem to be witnessing another failure of House leadership, at least as it pertains to this issue. Only this time, Republicans are running the show.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

It is not clear whether everyone is yelling “NOT IT” on purpose. Hanlon’s razor suggests otherwise. But who knows? Almost everybody is theoretically in favor of this reform, yet, so far, yet there has not been the political will to coalesce around one bill.

This makes sense. Why would Congress want to regulate itself? Why would members of Congress want to remove benefits they currently have? They would only do so if they perceived they had to. And let’s be honest: They don’t.

For political leaders like McCarthy, the calculation then becomes one of weighing preference (of the public and congressional reformers) versus intensity (some members intensely enjoy getting rich off of the stock market). The public prefers reform, but not enough to vote against their guy or gal in Congress.

As such, there is a risk this will become a feel-good issue—like term limits or refusing to pay Congress unless they pass a balanced budget—that amounts to little more than cheap sloganeering.

So how could this change?

With all due respect to Democrats like Reps. Craig and Spanberger, they don’t really matter to McCarthy, who only has one real priority: remaining the Speaker of the House.

What really matters in the short term is whether a few Republican politicians—such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (who supports banning stock trading)—makes this a priority for McCarthy.

Just as it took AOC to light a fire under Pelosi, only Republicans can influence McCarthy’s priorities.

Unless or until that happens, reform will remain merely a popular idea to champion.

Source link

Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

We’re debating buying Palo Alto’s sharp post-earnings drop. Here’s what we’re considering

Palo Alto Networks delivered a strong quarter, but the stock plummeted after-hours on a slight billings miss and a disappointing reduction in its full-year outlook due to a shift in strategy. Revenue during the cybersecurity company's fiscal 2024 second quarter increased 19% year-over-year to $1.98 billion,...

The 5 best non-Shohei Ohtani moves of the MLB offseason — and 4 that should happen before Opening Day

Baseball has seen a little bit of everything this offseason. Following the Texas Rangers’ World Series victory, we had a stretch of relative quiet, with the occasional transaction sprinkled in every few weeks.That was in part because we were waiting for arguably the most anticipated signing...

Elden Ring DLC Gameplay Reveal Trailer Confirmed for Wednesday – IGN

Our first look at Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree will arrive in the form of a trailer tomorrow morning, FromSoftware and Bandai Namco have announced.The game’s official X/Twitter account revealed the news in a social media post, promising to deliver a first look at the...

Rays Sign Amed Rosario To One-Year Deal

5:10pm: The Rays have now made it official, announcing that they have signed Rosario. To open a roster spot, Rasmussen was placed on the 60-day IL. 2:45pm: The Rays and infielder Amed Rosario are in agreement on a one-year, $1.5MM deal, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. The...

Amazon to join Dow Jones Industrial Average, reflecting ‘evolving nature of American economy’

Last Updated: Feb. 20, 2024 at 5:52 p.m. ET First Published: Feb. 20, 2024 at 5:32 p.m. ET Amazon.com Inc. is set to join the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a week, a move meant to reflect...

Hunter Biden’s lawyer says informant charged with lying ‘infected’ the case

Hunter Biden’s lawyers argued in a court filing Tuesday that the indictment last week of an FBI informant for allegedly lying about the first family has tainted the federal charges against the president’s son.The filing in Delaware federal court shows how Biden’s lawyers are moving quickly...

‘Porky’s’ star Tony Ganios dead at 64 after his ‘heart stopped’

Celebrities By Erin Keller Published Feb. 20, 2024, 5:12 p.m. ET Tony Ganios, star of the sex comedy “Porky’s” and numerous other cult classic films, has reportedly died. He was 64. TMZ broke the news Tuesday after an X account from someone claiming to be Ganios’ longtime fiancée, Amanda...

Biotech Crashes 74% After Unexpected Liver Failure Sidelines Two Tests

Biotech stock Rapt Therapeutics (RAPT) plummeted to a record low Tuesday after the Food and Drug Administration put two of its clinical studies on hold. X The company is testing a drug called zelnecirnon as a treatment for eczema and asthma. But in a midstage test, one eczema...

Gemini on your phone but Google Assistant in your ears

In testing the Gemini app over the past week, my usage of Google Assistant through Pixel Buds Pro has skyrocketed, and I’m actually liking the balance. 9to5Google has a rebooted newsletter that highlights the biggest Google stories with added commentary and other tidbits. Sign up to get...

CFP board approves move to 5+7 model for 2024

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers on Tuesday voted unanimously to revise the format of the 12-team event to include the five highest-ranked conference champions and seven at-large bids, finalizing an adjustment from the original “6+6” model. The board, which is made up of 11 chancellors...

Helldivers 2 Patch 1.000.10 Takes Aim at Matchmaking, PC Black Screen, and Preps for Increased Server Capacity – IGN

Helldivers 2 Patch 1.000.10 is starting to roll out on Steam and PS5, which developer Arrowhead hopes will address some of the numerous issues that fans have encountered over the past week. Chief among them are issues with matchmaking and server issues, as well as the...