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Harry Reid Sets Up STOCK Act Procedural Vote

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Senate is set to vote on taking up legislation Monday that would explicitly ban federal lawmakers and their staff from trading on insider information.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture this afternoon on the motion to proceed to the bill, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.

The measure would be the first element to hit the Senate floor that President Barack Obama called for in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.

Following Reid’s move, the White House press office praised the Senate for quickly taking up the legislation.

“Today, Leader Reid announced the Senate will take-up legislation making it clear that Members of Congress may not engage in insider trading, an important component of the President’s blueprint for an America built to last,” the White House said in a statement. “As the President said in his State of the Union message, this bipartisan legislation will help limit the corrosive influence of money in politics and restoring the American people’s trust in Washington.

“Members of Congress should not be able to trade stocks based on nonpublic information gleaned on Capitol Hill nor should they be able to own stocks in industries they impact,” the White House continued. “We believe this is an important first step to prevent members of Congress from profiting from their positions and call for swift passage.”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill last month; it is expected to get wide support in the full Senate.

The measure would prohibit Members of Congress and aides from using nonpublic insider information for personal gain or to tip off others. Congressional insider trading is not explicitly prohibited by statute but is outlawed under Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

The measure would also require lawmakers and staffers to report the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds, commodities and other investments within 30 days of the transactions.

Opponents of the measure believe it is redundant. At the markup last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of only two Senators to vote against the bill in committee, said that the bill is not needed and could also have unintended consequences.

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