Rep. Abigail Spanberger lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and called for new party leadership on Capitol Hill Friday as a bill Spanberger sponsored that would ban lawmakers from trading stock while in office languished in Congress.
Spanberger (D-Va.), who is facing a close re-election fight in the Nov. 8 midterms, issued the scathing statement as it became clear that the TRUST in Congress Act would not come up for a vote until after Election Day.
“This moment marks a failure of House leadership — and it’s yet another example of why I believe that the Democratic Party needs new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill, as I have long made known,” Spanberger said.
The two-term congresswoman went on to claim that support for her bill has grown in recent months — but party leadership engaged in “repeated delay tactics” to avoid a vote.
“For months, momentum grew in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to finally take a step towards prohibiting members of Congress from day trading while on the job. We saw remarkable progress towards rectifying glaring examples of conflicts of interest,” Spanberger said.
“After first signaling her opposition to these reforms, the speaker purportedly reversed her position. However, our bipartisan reform coalition was then subjected to repeated delay tactics, hand-waving gestures, and blatant instances of Lucy pulling the football.”
She added the “diversionary tactics” included having the House Administration Committee create a new piece of legislation — the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act — that was introduced Tuesday.
That bill — which was sponsored by an ally of Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif), and sought to ban lawmakers, their spouses and children from trading stocks — created an immediate split in the Democratic Party.
“They ultimately introduced a kitchen-sink package that they knew would immediately crash upon arrival, with only days remaining before the end of the legislative session and no time to fix it,” Spanberger said.
“It’s apparent that House leadership does not have its heart in this effort, because the package released earlier this week was designed to fail,” she continued.
“It was written to create confusion surrounding reform efforts and complicate a straightforward reform priority — banning members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks — all while creating the appearance that House leadership wanted to take action.”
After Friday, the House was not scheduled to be back in session until Nov. 14.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Pelosi argued that pieces of Spanberger’s bill were included in the House Administration Committee’s proposed legislation.
“Her bill is in the bill, others had ideas too. And that’s what the committee put forth,” Pelosi said.
“We have to have the votes to bring it up,” she added.
Pelosi has faced mounting bipartisan pressure to move legislation forward — with critics pointing to her husband Paul Pelosi’s stock trades as a potential conflict of interest.
A recent analysis found that nearly 20% of lawmakers made stock trades related to industries they oversaw on various committees.