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Senate group proposes bipartisan ban on congressional stock trading

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Senate group proposes bipartisan ban on congressional stock trading

A bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), introduced new legislation that would impose strict penalties on members of Congress and their families for trading stocks. The bill aims to prevent conflicts of interest by prohibiting lawmakers from buying or selling stocks and specific investments by 2027. Additionally, members of Congress, the president, and vice president would be required to divest from certain investments by the same deadline.

Under the proposed legislation, lawmakers could still invest in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, but violating the new rules would result in a fine equal to their monthly salary or 10 percent of the value of each improper investment. The bill sponsors expressed hope that Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer would bring the measure for a vote in the Senate, but the legislation may face challenges in the chamber, where it would require 60 votes to overcome a potential filibuster. Despite previous failures in passing similar restrictions, lawmakers like Sen. Hawley are confident that a significant number of Republicans would support the measure, as some had campaigned on banning stock trading in previous elections.

The push for tighter regulations on congressional stock trading comes amid heightened scrutiny of lawmakers’ financial activities. Previous incidents, such as Rep. Pat Fallon’s failure to disclose numerous transactions and the inquiries into senators like Kelly Loeffler, brought attention to the need for more stringent rules and penalties. The legislation aims to restore public confidence in elected officials’ decision-making processes by prioritizing the best interests of the American public over personal financial gains, addressing long-standing concerns about potential conflicts of interest in Congress.

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