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US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer echoes Nancy Pelosi's stance on lawmakers trading stocks
One of the issues that have emerged in Congress is of its members trading stocks despite concerns of conflicts of interest. US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer echoed the stance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that members of Congress should be allowed to trade stocks.
This week, Hoyer rejected the notion that members of Congress should not be allowed from owning or trading stocks. Hoyer cited that lawmakers should have the same financial privilege as private citizens. Hoyer’s stance echoes that of Pelosi, who previously drew criticism for defending congressional stock trading.
Hoyer, who has stressed that he himself does not own any stocks, said he welcomed the notion that congressional committees have signaled the intention of examining proposals by lawmakers of both parties to address the issue that has increasingly come under scrutiny.
“My general feeling is that members ought not to be in a different situation that they would otherwise be if they weren’t members of Congress,” said Hoyer. “As long as they do so legally, without having some special advantage, my immediate reaction is that it should not be precluded.”
Pelosi’s defense of lawmakers owning stocks was that the US was a “free market economy,” and that lawmakers should also be able to take part. Pelosi, who is also one of the wealthiest members of Congress, disclosed millions of dollars in stocks in her annual financial disclosures. Pelosi’s office has defended her position and noted that the investments are held by her husband Paul Pelosi, and she does not have control or have any knowledge of how those are managed.
In face of increasing calls from lawmakers on both parties to ban lawmakers from owning or trading stocks while in office, Pelosi has signaled a willingness to put a ban, saying that it could be done if enough Democrats support the notion. Democratic leaders have expressed a reluctance to address the issue.
While Pelosi said that if enough members of Congress support the ban, the House Speaker is not pressed to take action on the issue.
“I do always come down in favor of trusting our members,” said Pelosi. “To give a blanket attitude of ‘we can’t do this and we can’t do that,’ because we can’t be trusted – I just don’t buy into that.”