As the Senate moves forward on a bill to ban insider trading among members of Congress, Democratic senators said Thursday that they've agreed to a key Republican demand—to expand the ban to federal employees.
But only the most high-ranking of federal employees—not rank-and-file members who Republicans hoped would be included.
"It was offered by Republicans, but we accept that. We think that's the right thing to do," said New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democratic Senate leader. "And we certainly don't want to let the House make an excuse that they're not going to pass the bill, because it's not going to cover both ends of Pennsylvania Ave."
Schumer accused Republicans of using "endless improvements" to try to kill the bill.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted to move forward with the STOCK Act on Monday, but over the past two days the legislation has been bogged down with dozens of amendments from lawmakers on both sides, raising the ire of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The initial bill, sponsored by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was proposed following concerns that lawmakers or their staffers were using inside information from their Congressional dealings to trade stocks.
Insider trading is already illegal for federal employees and Congressional employees alike, but the bill would strengthen those regulations and put further burdens on lawmakers and their staffers to report their stock holdings. Reid announced Thursday that he reached an agreement to hold a vote on final passage, which will include consideration of about 20 different amendments.
While Republicans had been hoping to add all executive branch employees to the new regulations, senior Democrats are throwing their support behind a proposal offered by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the independent senator from Connecticut, which would apply the rules to political appointees who are confirmed by Congress, as well as the Senior Executive Service, the highest-ranking career federal employees.
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