President Obama signed into law new legislation prohibiting insider trading for members of Congress and their staff in a ceremony attended by lawmakers in both parties.
Obama called the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which makes it illegal for members of Congress to make decisions in the stock market based on non-public information they receive in the course of their work on Capitol Hill, a “good and necessary thing.”
He added that public servants “were sent here to serve the American people and look out for their interests, not look out for our own interests.”
Striking a populist tone, Obama said that, like corporations, politicians should also be barred from having an unfair advantage over ordinary Americans.
“The powerful shouldn't get to create one set of rules for themselves and one set of rules for everyone else. If we expect to apply that to our most powerful corporations it should definitely apply to our elected officials.”
Obama also alluded to the looming general election fight, a preview of which he offered yesterday during a speech against the Republican budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan which he said represented a “radical vision for America.”
“In the months to come we are going to have plenty of debates over competing visions for this country that we all love,” Obama said. “Those are all debates that I'm looking forward to having but today I want to thank all the members of congress who came together and worked to get this done."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) praised the bipartisan nature of the bill, releasing a statement that said in part: “Rather than letting our differences divide us, as so often happens in Washington, this bipartisan bill shows that we can come together and deliver results for the American people."
The bipartisan delegation that attended the bill signing consisted of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).
Obama noted that Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) who originally introduced the bill in 2006 was supposed to be in attendance but was tending to a broken leg.