‘A Failure of House Leadership’: Democrat Mutinies After Hoyer Blocks Congressional Trading Ban

A House Democrat is up in arms against party leadership in the lower chamber after Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) blocked legislation that would ban stock trading by members of Congress.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), incensed by the decision, said in a Sept. 30 statement that it was “a failure of House leadership” and called for a new generation of Democrats to take control of the party.

The text of the legislation (pdf), dubbed the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act, would seek to ban a range of officials—in Congress, the executive branch, the Supreme Court, and at the Federal Reserve—from trading or owning investments in instruments including stocks, commodities, futures, and cryptocurrencies.

The draft legislation would force individuals covered by the measure to divest themselves of these holdings or put them in a qualified blind trust.

Spanberger’s letter comes after Hoyer on Sept. 30 announced that the bill would not come up for a vote this week.

Asked to explain the decision to not follow through on the expected vote, Hoyer told reporters, “People have to look at it.”

“It’s an important issue,” he added, saying Democrats need more time “to make sure that if and when we do something, we do it right.”

Spanberger’s Statement

Spanberger, a leader of the bipartisan effort to block stock trading by members of Congress, shot back in a stinging statement against her party’s current leaders.

“Our job as elected officials is to serve the people—not ourselves,” Spanberger wrote. “That’s why I’ve been proud to lead the charge on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their immediate families from trading individual stocks—not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because the Virginians I represent overwhelmingly support it and want us to get it done.

“Since the early days of

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