Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) released a statement on Friday clearly frustrated that Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives will not bring forth legislation to ban the active trading of stocks by members of Congress. Spanberger also called for new Democratic leadership in Congress.
“Our job as elected officials is to serve the people — not ourselves. That’s why 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 in her statement.
Spanberger really jumped into this issue after it was revealed at the beginning of the pandemic that lawmakers were profiting off of inside information about the spread of Covid-19.
“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,” Spanberger continued in her statement Friday. “Our commonsense proposal demonstrated that many Democrats and Republicans alike take this issue seriously and are listening to the voices of the people.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) had recently said she was planning to bring legislation to the floor that would ban members from trading. Pelosi and her husband are heavily involved in stock trading.
Spanberger says Pelosi was in support of the effort to ban trading by members but says delay tactics and other moves made it clear the effort to move this legislation by leadership does not appear genuine.
“For months, momentum grew in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to finally take a step towards prohibiting Members of Congress from day trading while on the job. We saw remarkable progress towards rectifying glaring examples of conflicts of interest,” Spanberger said. “And after first signaling her opposition to these reforms, the Speaker purportedly reversed her position. However, our bipartisan reform coalition was then subjected to repeated delay tactics, hand-waving gestures, and blatant instances of Lucy pulling the football.”
Spanberger called it a failure by leadership in the House where Democrats have a majority.
“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,” Spanberger said. “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.”
Spanberger says leadership used diversionary tactics to create legislation that would never pass on the floor.
“As part of their diversionary tactics, the House Administration Committee was tasked with creating a new piece of legislation — and they ultimately introduced a kitchen-sink package that they knew would immediately crash upon arrival, with only days remaining before the end of the legislative session and no time to fix it,” Spanberger says.
She believes the legislation being pushed by leadership was designed to fail.
“It’s apparent that House leadership does not have its heart in this effort, because the package released earlier this week was designed to fail,” Spanberger said. “It was written to create confusion surrounding reform efforts and complicate a straightforward reform priority — banning Members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks — all while creating the appearance that House Leadership wanted to take action.”
She will continue to work on this issue, Spanberger says.
“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. I look forward to working with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to get these reforms done.”
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