U.S. Rep. Tim Walz sent a letter to congressional leaders today, urging them to resolve the House and Senate versions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act by convening a conference committee.
The STOCK Act would bar members of Congress, their staff and executive branch advisers from using insider information learned on the job to trade stocks and securities.
Just last week, the House approved a version of the bill, which Walz spent six years trying to push through Congress, with near unanimous support, 417 to 2. The U.S. Senate also overwhelmingly approved a version of the bill this month. Despite the widespread support, the bill will remain in limbo unless it's take to a conference committee.
Walz recited a portion of the "I'm Just a Bill" segment from the Saturday morning cartoon "Schoolhouse Rock!" to express his frustration.
"The STOCK Act is just a bill sitting on Capitol Hill," he told reporters in a conference call.
Walz and the other original co-sponsor, New York Democrat Louise Slaughter, sent the letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Walz and Slaughter are upset the House version chucked a requirement that would force firms specializing in "political intelligence" for Wall Street firms to register their employees much like lobbyists.
Their letter reads, in part:
"We were deeply disappointed that the House amendment to the STOCK Act stripped out the requirement that the political intelligence industry comply with the [Lobbying Disclosure Act] and a Senate-passed provision that strengthens public corruption enforcement. Ninety six members of the Senate, 286 members of the House, and the American public support these critical provisions and we urge them to be restored.
"It is imperative that the STOCK Act continues it path through the legislative process without delay in an open and transparent manner to restore the public's confidence in Congress."
"The pressure to get this done has not let up one inch," Walz said.