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.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.