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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

U.S. Senate To Votes on STOCK Act - Will the Executive Branch Be Held To Same Standards As Congress?

Update 5:05 pm: US Senate passed the STOCK Act (97-3).
Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 2, 2012:
Yesterday, The House passed the following bills:
  • H.R. 1173 (267-159): Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011, a bill to repeal the CLASS Act, Obamacare’s long-term care entitlement. The passage was bipartisan with 28 Democrats joining the Republicans in passing the bill. The bill was sent to the Senate where it is expected that the Democratic Senate leadership will delay or seek to kill the bill.
  • H.R. 3835(309-117): To extend the pay limitation for Members of Congress and Federal employees with 72 Democrats joining all of the Republicans in support of this bill.
  • By voice vote H.RES.147: Limits cost of living adjustments for legislative branch employees.
  • HR 3567 (395-27): Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act of 2011 which prohibit welfare funds to be used in strip clubs, casinos, and liquor stores.
The Senate resumed consideration of S. 2083, the STOCK Act, which would prohibit Members of Congress from using nonpublic insider information for trading or personal gain. Votes on as many as 20 amendments to the bill are scheduled this afternoon.

Earlier this week, Roll Call reported, “Republican leaders pushed to expand a proposed insider trading ban for Members of Congress to top executive branch officials . . . . ‘The president is calling on Congress to live up to a standard that he isn’t requiring of his own employees,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor. At a news conference, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also pushed the Senate to add the executive branch to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. ‘The bill does not adequately cover those connected with the federal government in the executive branch that are in positions with access and are privy to information that could be used to personally benefit those individuals,’ the Virginia Republican said.”

Leader McConnell continued his push today, saying in a floor speech, “I mean, I think a lot of people out there want to know why a venture capitalist who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the President only to end up overseeing the administration’s green energy loan program shouldn’t be held to the same high standard as others?
Shouldn’t the President’s chief of staff be held to the same standard as a legislative director to a freshman Senator? Let’s be honest: people are equally, if not more concerned, about the kind of cronyism they keep reading about over at the White House and within the executive branch agencies, like DOE, that it controls. There’s no question Congress should be held to a high standard. But if we’re going to pass new standards here, the same standards should apply to the White House and to the executive agencies that spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at the President’s direction.”

To that end, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced amendments to apply these standards to the administration. He spoke with Sean Hannity yesterday about them, saying, “The Solyndra deal, where they gave $500 million to one of the richest men in our country - Mr. [George] Kaiser is the 20th richest man in our country - and he got a taxpayer funded loan. You’ve got to wonder why millionaires and billionaires should be getting taxpayer funded loans. But it’s worse than that, the guy that approved the loan, his wife works for a law firm that represents Solyndra.” He added, “[T]he interesting thing is, is many career people in the Department of Energy – who are probably career, good civil servants trying to protect the taxpayer’s money – were arguing against this loan. But low and behold the key guy arguing in favor, his wife works for the law firm that represents Solyndra. Boy if that’s not insider trading, I don’t know what is.”

As Leader McConnell said, “[T]hat leads to a larger point, which is this: as long as the White House and the agencies it controls continue to play favorites, this economy will never fully recover and the playing field won’t ever be level. As long as Washington has this much say over the direction of the economy, people won’t ever feel like they’re getting a fair shake. So yes, let’s hold Congress to a high standard. But the White House must be held to the same one.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., House, Senate, STOCK Act, CLASS Act, Obama care, pay limitation, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:18 PM - Post Link


Anonymous David W Bolick said...

And the Judicial Branch!


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