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Public Statements

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding and thank him for giving us this opportunity to discuss an important matter--the integrity of Congress--on the floor of the House.

I, too, want to join the distinguished majority leader, Mr. Cantor, in praising the leadership of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, our ranking member on the Rules Committee, and Congressman Tim Walz for their extraordinary leadership over time, their persistence, the approach that they have taken to this to remove all doubt in the public's mind, if that is possible, that we are here to do the people's business and not to benefit personally from it.

I listened attentively to the distinguished majority leader, Mr. Cantor's remarks about the STOCK Act and its importance. And it just raises a question to me as to, if it is so important, and it certainly is, why we could not have worked in a more bipartisan fashion either to accept the Senate bill which was developed in a bipartisan fashion and passed the Senate--what was it?--94-6. It's hard to get a result like 94-6 in Congress these days, but they were able to get the result because they worked together to develop their legislation.

We had two good options. One was to accept the Senate bill, or to take up the Slaughter-Walz legislation which has nearly 300 cosponsors. Almost 100 Republicans cosponsored the original STOCK Act. The discharge petition has been calling upon the leadership to bring that bill to the floor. What's important about that is that if we passed that bill, we could go to conference and take the best and strongest of both bills to get the job done.

Instead, secretly, the Republicans brought a much-diminished bill to the floor. It has some good features. So I urge our colleagues to vote for it to bring the process along. What's wrong with it, though, is that it makes serious omissions. And I want to associate myself with the remarks that had been made earlier; but I think they bear repetition, in any event.

Senator Grassley's remarks are stunning. It is really a stunning indictment of the House Republicans in terms of their action on this bill. And I know my colleague has read this into the Record already, but I will, too.

Senator Grassley said: ``It's astonishing and extremely disappointing that the House would fulfill Wall Street's wishes by killing this provision''--that would be the provision on political intelligence. ``The Senate clearly voted to try to shed light on an industry that's behind the scenes. If the Senate language is too broad, as opponents say, why not propose a solution instead of scrapping the provision altogether? I hope to see a vehicle for meaningful transparency through a House-Senate conference or other means. If Congress delays action, the political intelligence industry will stay in the shadows, just the way Wall Street likes it.''

Well, the Senator's statement is very widely covered. The Hill today has a big, full page, ``Grassley: Republicans caved. Iowa Senator says House doing Wall Street's bidding.''

I think it is important to note that on the Senate side there was interest in doing this study that is now in the House bill, and it was rejected by the Senate by a 60-39 vote, to include the political intelligence provision in the bill, rejecting the study. Now that that has already been rejected in the Senate, it's resurrected on the House side, a weakening of the bill.

So whether it's the political intelligence piece proposed by Senator Grassley or Senator Leahy's piece about corruption, I think it is really important that those two elements be included in the bill. A good way to do that, to find a path to bipartisanship in the strongest possible bill, is to pass the bill today despite its serious shortcomings. And it is hard to understand why the shortcomings are there, but nonetheless they are. But pass the bill today and go to conference. To pass earlier or to accept the Senate bill, or to take the original STOCK Act, strong STOCK Act to the floor. Both of those were rejected. Pass this bill and go to conference. It is very important that the House and the Senate meet to discuss these very important issues. With all due respect to a study on political intelligence, that's really just a dodge. That is just a way to say we're not going to do the political intelligence piece.

So again, with serious reservations about the bill but thinking that the better course of action is to pass it, and I don't want anybody to interpret the strong vote for it to be a seal of approval of what it is, but just a way of pushing the process down the line so that we can move expeditiously to go to conference for the strongest possible bill.

I want to close again by saluting Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Congressman Tim Walz for their relentless persistence and dedication to this issue. Had they not had this discharge petition and the nearly 300 cosponsors, bipartisan, nearly 100 of them Republicans, I doubt that we would even be taking up this bill today. So congratulations and thank you.


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