Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated on Wednesday that House Democrats are looking into potential policy proposals to ban lawmaker stock trading and working to find a consensus so they can take action this year.
Asked at her weekly news conference about the possibility of enacting a ban on lawmaker trading, Pelosi responded, “We’ve tasked the House Administration Committee to review the options that members are putting forth,” and later added, “We’ll go forward with what the consensus is.” Asked if that will happen this year, Pelosi said, “I assume they will have it pretty soon.”
The comments by the speaker come amid a growing bipartisan push by some members of Congress in support of bills that would ban lawmakers from buying and selling stocks while in office.
In January, Pelosi asked the House Administration Committee to consider higher fines for members and aides who violate existing stock trading laws and also asked them to review member ban bills.
At a news conference that month, Pelosi signaled openness to proposals to ban stock trading by members.
“I’ve said to the House Administration Committee: review all the bills that are coming in and see which ones, where the support is in our caucus,” she said at the time, later adding, “If members want to do that, I’m okay with that.”
At a news conference in December, Pelosi defended lawmakers who trade stocks.
“This is a free market and people – we are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” she said at the time.
On Wednesday, Pelosi also said that proposals need “to be government wide.” Pelosi pointed out lawmakers are required to make annual financial disclosures.
“In addition to that, on a regular basis, when there’s a stock transaction to report that,” she said. “The court system, the third branch of government, the Judiciary, has no reporting. The Supreme Court has no disclosure. It has no reporting of stock transactions and it makes important decisions every day.”
Pelosi also said, “We have to tighten the fines on those who violate the STOCK Act,” referring to a law that outlaws congressional insider trading. “It is not sufficient to deter behavior.”
CNN’s Annie Grayer, Kristin Wilson, Daniella Diaz and Anneken Tappe contributed to this report.