The House today passed an amended version of reform legislation that codifies the ban on insider trading for Members and staff, triggering a decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over whether to accept the House’s changes or move to a potentially contentious conference committee.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act passed 417-2, a vote that obscured significant discomfort on the part of many Members about how far its provisions reach.
But critics of changes made to the bill by House GOP leaders — including removing a provision that requires political intelligence consultants to register as lobbyists — did not register their concerns with “no” votes, either.
Tuesday, partisan sniping had opened up over the bill, with Republicans targeting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with a provision in their amendment on initial public offerings and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) unloading on Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for what they said was a weakening of the bill to “help his friends” on Wall Street.
But Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), a co-author with Slaughter of the bill as originally introduced in the House, said Cantor helped soothe the anxious Democrats with a phone call early Wednesday in which he promised to help work on the political intelligence issue after it was studied, as the amended bill calls for.
“The leader called and I was very grateful for that,” Walz said, adding that Cantor offered a “guarantee — he said, you know if we look into this, we want to make sure we get this right. He said there’s a study on the political intelligence piece of this and if it comes back, he pledged to work with us on that.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.