Legislation to limit stock trading by members of Congress has been put on hold due to resistance from members of both parties to more tightly regulating their financial activities.
After pressure from rank-and-file lawmakers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi accepted the effort in recent months. The House will take up the issue this month before adjourning for the elections. The legislation was put on hold, at least until after the election, according to the majority leader.
He said it was an important issue. He said that members of the House need time to look at it and make sure that they do it correctly.
Efforts to rein in stock trading by members were put on hold due to a surge of anger among voters and scrutiny by watchdog groups.
Congress will return to Washington in six weeks to finish its work, but the appetite for regulating themselves will not increase if Democrats lose their majority. The chances of the effort in the Senate are not likely to improve in the near term.
A leading advocate of banning trading by members of Congress said they have watched delay after delay. She said that House leadership decided to write their own bill rather than embracing the legislation she had introduced.
Ms. Spanberger said that the delay was an example of why her party needed new leaders in Congress.
Ms. Pelosi said that she didn't think the measure had the votes to pass.
She said that this is the legislative process.
In recent years, public outrage over congressional stock trading intensified after it was revealed that Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and three other senators had sold stocks in early 2020 after private briefings on the risks of a coronaviruses outbreak in the U.S.
Kevin Williams, an Iraq war veteran and firefighter in San Antonio who trades stocks in his spare time and has said on social media that trading by lawmakers and their spouses is improper, thinks politicians have gotten away from the definition of public service. You are elected by the people to represent them. You aren't trading stocks.
A majority of Americans are in favor of banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks.
Many of her colleagues were cool to the idea of changing the law. A decade ago, a law was enacted that made it illegal to trade on nonpublic information and required representatives and senators to report any transactions worth $1,000 or more.
Congress has resisted regulating itself in the past. Some whistle-blower and disclosure statutes are not applicable to members.
Lawmakers argue that tighter limits on financial trading are needed to combat the appearance of impropriety and to prevent conflicts. Critics say that Paul Pelosi may be benefiting from knowledge of his wife's work, but there is no evidence to support that. Ms. Pelosi said she had no involvement in any transactions.
97 representatives and senators and their immediate family members reported trades of stocks, bonds or other financial assets that could have been influenced by committees they were serving on. On the day after the article was published, Ms. Pelosi announced that the House would vote on a bill to limit stock trading by lawmakers.
A different bill was drawn up by Representative Lofgren, who was the chairwoman of the Administration Committee. She said that the speaker wanted it to cover the judicial branch as well as congress.
Most financial asset trading for lawmakers, their spouses, dependent children, senior staff aides and federal judges would be eliminated. It would allow them to hold investments through financial holding structures known as blind trusts, in which the owner doesn't know how the assets are managed, as well as broad-based mutual funds, state or municipal bonds, and some family businesses.
Lawmakers have six months to sell their stock holdings. The Justice Department would be given the power to bring civil actions against violators if the bill is passed.
The measure is an important step towards regaining trust in Congress.
The president of the Campaign Legal Center said in a statement on Thursday that the bill answered voters' calls for reform.
The provision that would allow Congress and other government bodies to vote to allow their members to hold any other type of investment trust was derided as ineffectual. Skeptics argued for tougher disclosure requirements.
The blowback was coming from inside the house. A group of Republicans wrote a letter to Ms. Lofgren complaining that they had not been included in the negotiations and that the bill was intended to score political points.
Some Democrats said that they had been left out of the legislative process. Lawmakers barely had time to read the bill before it was thrown out.
According to Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, there is a lot of effort to make this die under its own weight. A lot of people in the body wouldn't mind not being able to trade.
Mr. Roy wouldn't have voted for Ms. Lofgren's bill because he thought it was too complex.
"I don't know why we've made something that's not so complex." She is a co-sponsor of a bill that would ban most stock trading and bar members from serving on the boards of for-profit companies.
Ms. Lofgren, who held a hearing on the stock-trading issue in April, was more resigned than before.
She said that it was a leadership decision to not consider her legislation. She said that the future of the bill would be decided by House leaders.
There is hope that a stock-trading bill can still be passed before Congress adjourns. The other was Senator Jeff Merkley, who is the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.
He said that he wouldn't say that the delay hurt the bill. It is more likely that members will be asked where they stand on this as they approach their elections because it has been in the news a lot.