House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says he was against putting the 26-page stock ban bill on the House floor for a vote before the House recess with 48 hours notice for lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had said the legislation, formally titled the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act, would be brought to a vote in September but the Democrat-led House left for recess on Friday after passing a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through Dec. 16. The final version of the bill was released last Tuesday evening.
"I don't know that I'm against it as it is," Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, told Just the News at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala over the weekend. "What I said was it was just reported, members need to look at, it's complicated, it's going to have a broad effect, and they need to look at it. So I was against putting it on the floor, you know, with 48 hours notice."
In the past, the House has passed legislation in less than 48 hours after the full text of the final legislation was formally introduced. The $2 trillion CARES Act, the first COVID-19 stimulus bill, was passed Congress in March 2020 shortly after the final version was released. In March of this year, Democratic congressional leaders unveiled a $1.5 trillion spending bill just hours before the scheduled House vote.
The individual stock trading ban in the bill would cover members of Congress, senior officials in all three branches of government as well as their spouses and dependent children. The legislation also covers cryptocurrencies.
Hoyer was asked if the Democrats would take up the stock ban legislation if they retain the majority.
"I might," Hoyer said. "I want to look at it. I've got some ideas of my own. We ought to make sure that anybody who does insider trading has a bit more than the average person, any member of Congress who does it, we ought to have substantially increased penalties to start out with, so I'm looking at some of those."
The stock trading ban legislation in its current form would raise the fine for violating the existing STOCK Act to $1,000. The STOCK Act was signed into law under former President Obama and requires members to disclose stock purchases they or their spouse made. The insider trading penalty in that law is set at $200, which gets adjusted by inflation.