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Public Statements

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JOHNSON of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, also known as the STOCK Act. As a sponsor of the original bill in 109th Congress, I am a firm believer that Members of Congress should receive no greater privilege than that of our own constituents. Although I am grateful for the passage of this bill today, it is reprehensible that it has taken six long years for this legislation to finally come to the Floor for consideration.

As President Lincoln stated, our government was intended to be a ``government of the people, by the people, for the people.'' Sadly, we have fallen away from those founding principles. Today, many government officials live in Washington, secluded from their constituents, and out of touch with reality. They benefit from financial insight used to improve their own stock portfolios, enjoy luxury trips disguised as CODELs, and upon retirement, receive generous pensions despite their own actions while in office. Politicians come to Washington not to represent their constituencies, but for their own avail.

Vainglorious acts such as these, committed by our country's leaders, are simply unacceptable. I have introduced several pieces of legislation intended to reduce government waste, hold Members accountable for their actions, and increase transparency within our federal government. For example, the STAY PUT Act would require the completion of a study on the costs of Congressional foreign travel claimed to meet criteria of ``official business,'' by Members, officers, and employees of Congress. Another piece of legislation I have introduced, the Citizen Legislator Act, aims to cut the time spent in Washington, DC in half, cuts Congressional salaries and budgets in half, allows Members to work jobs outside of public office, and increases the time Members spend in their districts with the people who elected them.

Madam Speaker, while, many of us may attempt to project the appearance that our motives are truly altruistic, the time has come for real action. I applaud my colleagues for passing the STOCK Act today and encourage them to consider additional legislation bearing similar objectives, to listen to their constituents, and to spend more time in their districts. I remain optimistic that many of us still remember why we find ourselves here today: to serve the American people.


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