Politics

Senators reach bipartisan deal to ban stock trading by lawmakers

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(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal on Wednesday to move forward with legislation that would ban stock trading by members of Congress.

The bill would ban lawmakers from buying and selling stocks 90 days after the measure is signed into law, according to a statement shared with ABC News.

The measure would also require elected officials, their spouses and dependent children to unload stock holdings and other related assets beginning in 2027.

The punishment for a failure to divest such holdings would be the monthly salary of the sanctioned official or 10% of the value of the assets at issue, whichever amount is greater, according to a summary of the legislation.

The measure also raises the penalty from $200 to $500 for failure to disclose stock holdings under a previous law that requires such information be made public.

The agreement was reached by Sen. Jon Ossof, D-Ga., Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

“The public should be confident that federal elected officials are making decisions that are in the best interests of the American people, not their own personal finances,” Peters said in a statement on Wednesday.

Echoing that sentiment, Merkley urged his colleagues to support the measure.

“Members of Congress are elected to serve the public — not their stock portfolios,” Merkley said in a statement. “The whole Senate should pass this bill and do so soon.”

Polls show widespread support for stock trading limits on Capitol Hill.

More than three-quarters of Americans support a ban of stock trading by members of Congress, according to a poll conducted by left-leaning firm Data for Progress in 2022. A rightwing advocacy group Convention of States Action found the same result in a poll it conducted that year.

The measure will be taken up for consideration at a meeting of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 24.

“There is no reason why members of Congress ought to be profiting off of the information that only they get and the rest of the American people don’t get,” Hawley said in a statement. “This bill takes a giant step forward.”

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