- Church of England allows female bishops
- Obama slammed by black Chicago residents: ‘Worst president ever’
- WHO urges healthy gay men to take HIV prevention drugs, cites ‘exploding epidemics’
- Ukraine: Military plane shot down by rocket
- Ebola crisis in West Africa deepens; 500+ dead
- Propaganda song popular among Central Americans was devised by U.S. Border Patrol
- Sen. Rob Portman: Math is on GOP’s side to win Senate this fall
- Four-time deportee arrested for molesting 9-year-old Texas girl
- Private investigators turn to drones to catch marital cheaters, insurance liars
- Sleep issues can accelerate Alzheimer’s, while mental exercises can delay it, study shows
Rare bipartisanship as Senate passes jobs, insider-trading bills
Question of the Day
In a rare burst of activity, the Senate broke through its gridlock rut Thursday and passed two bipartisan measures aimed at cutting red tape for small businesses and explicitly banning insider stock trading for members of Congress.
The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 73-26 to pass the House Republicans’ Jobs Act, which is designed to give small businesses better access to capital by easing some Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
Immediately afterward, the Senate, in an unusual move, passed by a verbal “unanimous consent” a bill that prohibits members of Congress and other federal workers from profiting from information learned on the job. The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
“This is a big day in the United States Senate,” said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican. “We’re delighted to actually be able to say the Senate is functioning effectively in a bipartisan way.”
The Senate approved one amendment to the small-business package to increase investor protections, so the measure — which easily passed the House earlier this month — must go back to the lower chamber for final approval. But the bill is expected to quickly clear Congress and be sent to the president, who supports it.
The House jobs package includes six bills, three of which previously passed the chamber with wide bipartisan support but stalled in the Senate. A centerpiece is a measure that would make it easier for small businesses to go public, which passed the House in November by a 421-1 vote.
The Senate action on the Jobs Act is a victory for House Republican leaders, who crafted the measure to rebut Mr. Obama’s claims their party hasn’t done enough to help small businesses and entrepreneurs.
But Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who joined 25 Democrats to oppose the package, said the bill’s provisions to streamline regulations instead would lead to greater investor fraud.
“At best, this bill could make it easier for con artists to defraud seniors out of their entire life savings by convincing them to invest in worthless companies,” Mr. Sanders said. “At worst, this bill has the potential to create the next Enron or Arthur Andersen scandal or an even worse financial crisis.”
The insider-trading bill, which the House already passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, would explicitly ban members of Congress, the president and thousands of other federal workers from profiting from nonpublic information learned on the job.
The Stock Act also would require many government officials to disclose any securities trade in excess of $1,000 either 30 days after the individual was notified of the transaction in an account or 45 days after the transaction.
“I strongly believe that we have to make clear that nobody here is above the law and that members of Congress need to play by the exact same set of rules as every other American,” said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York Democrat.
The bill also would require members of Congress, their senior staff and top level executive branch employees to disclose their mortgages annually.
An earlier proposal to require public reports from people who gather information from Congress — and sell it, mainly to investors — was dropped from the final bill.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- CURL: The hypocrisy of Obama's 15-day Vineyard vacation
- EDITORIAL: The faux farmer in the Senate race in Iowa
- Sen. John McCain on illegal child immigrants: Fly them home, now
- Agency scrubs Malia Obama photos at White House's request: report
- Eric Holder: 'Racial animus' fuels opposition to Obama and me
- Rand Paul to Rick Perry on Iraq: Get some new glasses
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs