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Senators Announce Bipartisan Bill to Ban Stock Trading for Lawmakers, After Previous Effort Failed

Stock trading bans for legislators are popular with the American public but have failed to pass in recent years.

A bipartisan group of senators announced Wednesday a new bill to ban members of the House and Senate from trading stocks.

The deal would prohibit members from trading stocks 90 days after its enactment. Dependent children and spouses would also be prohibited from trading stock beginning in 2017, Axios reported.

The measure was announced at Captiol Hill press conference by Democratic Sens. John Ossoff, of Georgia; Gary Peters, of Michigan; and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, alongside Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, of Missouri.

"Congress should not be here to make a buck," Hawley said. "There is no reason why members of Congress ought to be profiting off the information only they get," he added.

If "you want to serve in Congress, don't come here to serve your portfolio. Come here to serve the people," Sen. Merkley told NPR in an interview, highlighting that a majority of the American public supports such a ban on stock trades.

A poll by the University of Maryland found that Americans overwhelmingly support the measure. Across party lines, Democrats, Republicans and independents all register more than 80% support for banning stock trades by Congress.

Previous attempts to ban stock trades for lawmakers have failed, in part because of resistance from congressional leadership.

After a similar proposal was unveiled in 2021, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her opposition to the measure.

When asked at the time whether she would support the proposition, Pelosi said "no."

“We’re a free market economy,” she said, according to CNBC. “They should be able to participate in that.”

Pelosi has come under scrutiny herself for profitable stock trades. In fact, this year Business Insider reported that Pelosi's stock portfolio was notching triple-digit returns.

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