RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) said despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not wanting to bring forward legislation that would ban Congress members from trading stocks, the bipartisan coalition behind the effort will be “relentless.”
After initially signaling opposition to the proposal, Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on the House Administration Committee to draft a stock-trading ban bill and said a final vote would come by the end of September.
Those plans were scrapped after House leaders said more time would be needed. In response, Spanberger released a scathing statement saying the package put forward by the committee “was designed to fail” and calling for new Democratic leaders in the House.
“It’s a reform that’s necessary, one that I’m committed to and I’m grateful that we have a good coalition of bipartisan co-sponsors that want to see this become law,” Spanberger said in an interview Thursday, Oct. 13. “And so, we’ll be relentless until we get there.”
The push to ban congressional stock trading led by Spanberger has gained support in Congress from Democrats and Republicans.
The legislation put forward by the committee would ban members of Congress, their spouses, dependent children, senior staff members, Supreme Court justices and executive branch members from buying, selling and trading stocks, requiring them to instead use other investment methods.
Spanberger claimed in her Sept. 30 statement that the lawmakers pushing for the stock-trading ban dealt with “repeated delay tactics” and that the House Administration Committee “ultimately introduced a kitchen-sink package that they knew would immediately crash upon arrival” days before the end of the legislative session.
“We have had challenges. The speaker of the House doesn’t like the legislation,” Spanberger told 8News. “She [Pelosi] doesn’t want to bring it forward but we’ll continue to push, push, push because at the end of the day what’s most important is the American people deserve to trust their members of Congress and we should take every step possible to remove even the perception of impropriety.”
Questions over lawmakers trading stocks grew after an investigation into claims that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) sold off stocks in the early days of the pandemic. The Department of Justice did not prosecute Sen. Burr.
Pelosi has dealt with scrutiny over her husband, who is a venture capitalist, selling shares of a chipmaker before the House voted on a bill to help the U.S.’s computer chip production.
The speaker told reporters Spanberger’s bill is within the package put forward by the House committee and that members had ideas to improve the legislation.
“So I didn’t see – I mean, I don’t know what her statement is, but it is contrary to what the House Administration Committee – I said to them, ‘Whatever you – whatever the members want to do, I fully support,’” Pelosi said on Sept. 30. “And they took her bill, added others that made the bill stronger, as a matter a fact. So this is an interesting press release, but it’s more important to write a bill.”
Spanberger’s call for new House leaders is not a surprise. The two-term congresswoman did not support Pelosi for Speaker in 2018 and 2021.
When asked whether there’s an appetite for the effort among members of Congress, Spanberger noted the bipartisan group of more than 70 co-sponsors to her legislation represent more than 25 states. But she said the most important thing is that “the American people support it.”
“Anywhere I go across the 7th District I am hearing from voters across the political spectrum that they support this idea. They support our legislation. They want to ensure that lawmakers cannot buy or sell individual stocks,” Spanberger told 8News.
“They want to know that there’s never a scenario in which their member of Congress or their senator is in a briefing, in a meeting, hears information about an upcoming pandemic or a potential invasion of another country and that they leave that briefing and make a phone call to their stockbroker.”