A vulnerable House Democrat called for new leadership in her party Friday after they halted an effort to ban members of Congress from trading stock.
In a statement Friday, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) slammed House Democratic leadership after they stalled the bipartisan effort to ban stock trading by members of Congress. Democrats unveiled draft legislation Tuesday, but leaders said this week that they are not ready to vote on the bill, and the House will recess Friday until after the general election. Spanberger accused leadership of using “repeated delay tactics,” and called for current leadership to be replaced.
“I’ve been proud to lead the charge on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their immediate families from trading individual stocks — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because the Virginians I represent overwhelmingly support it and want us to get it done,” Spanberger said. “Since the early days of the pandemic, I have worked with lawmakers from both parties — and across the ideological spectrum — to earn their support for my bipartisan bill, the TRUST in Congress Act, to require individual stock holdings be divested or placed in a qualified blind trust while in office. Our commonsense proposal demonstrated that many Democrats and Republicans alike take this issue seriously and are listening to the voices of the people.”
Spanberger, who co-authored the TRUST in Congress Act with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), pointed out that bipartisan momentum in support of banning members from trading stocks grew in both houses of Congress. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced her own bill in the House; in the Senate, competing legislation was introduced by Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), along with a third bill co-authored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). Democrats introduced versions of these bills in the House as well.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressed support for a stock ban earlier this year. “However, our bipartisan reform coalition was then subjected to repeated delay tactics, hand-waving gestures, and blatant instances of Lucy pulling the football,” Spanberger complained.
“This moment marks a failure of House leadership — and it’s yet another example of why I believe that the Democratic Party needs new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill, as I have long made known,” she continued. “Rather than bring Members of Congress together who are passionate about this issue, leadership chose to ignore these voices, push them aside, and look for new ways they could string the media and the public along — and evade public criticism.”
“In the months ahead, I will be dogged in my efforts to ban Members of Congress from using the privilege of their position to profit,” she concluded. “I look forward to working with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to get these reforms done.”
According to Business Insider, House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), at the direction of Pelosi, introduced the “Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act” Tuesday. But House Democratic leaders said this week that they need time to read and revise the bill. “We need to spend a little more time working on the specifics of the bill, socializing the specifics and then taking another swing at it when we have a bit more time,” Democratic House Chief Deputy Whip Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) told Punchbowl News.
Democratic Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters Thursday that there would be “probably no vote” on the bill this week.
Spanberger is in a closely contested race against Republican challenger Yesli Vega. The contest is currently listed as “lean Democratic” by the Cook Political Report.