Well, Now We Know Why Nancy Caved
Remember when I noted that Pelosi has allowed a bill that restricted stock trades by Congressmen to proceed to a vote?
I noted at the time that this was probably because, whatever her other myriad flaws, she could could count votes, and she knew that she would lose if she opposed bringing up the bill.
Well, now we know that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had filed for a discharge petition on the bill, and a significant portion of the Democratic House Caucus would support a discharge petition because they think that the stock trades are corrupt, and a significant portion of the House Republican Caucus support it as well, because it would embarrass Speaker Pelosi.
So, seeing the writing on the wall, she threw in the towel:
House Democratic leaders indicated Wednesday that they are moving forward with legislation aimed at banning members of Congress from trading stocks, a sharp reversal from their years of previous support for the practice. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has reportedly dropped her opposition to the effort, opening the way for a bill this year.
Wide majorities have long considered it ridiculous that members of Congress are able to own and trade stocks even as they have the power to move the prices of those stocks with legislative action or inaction. After multiple trading scandals, Congress required disclosure of ownership and trades, though members frequently flout the rules.
Pelosi may simply be bowing to the inevitable and caving to broad public pressure, but there was a specific, internal push that may have made a difference: a discharge petition in the works from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
A House rule allows 218 members who sign such a petition to force a bill onto the floor for a vote. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez got that process started by filing a bill banning member stock trades with the Rules Committee filled with requirements that would make the committee very unlikely to pass it. The resolution would have required an immediate floor vote on the bill and barred amendments.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., sensed an opening in the Democratic resistance and has said that he would move to ban trading if Republicans take over the House majority. On January 20, Pelosi opened up to the possibility of a ban. “I just don’t buy into it, but if members want to do that, I’m OK with that,” she said.
On February 1, Ocasio-Cortez introduced her resolution with the Rules Committee.
The underlying bill, written by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and joined by Ocasio-Cortez and others, does not include a ban on the spouses of members trading stocks, though a spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez said she supports adding that restriction. The bill does ban senior congressional aides from trading stocks.
This is a well deserved loss for Nancy Pelosi.