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Sen. Mitch McConnell announced the bill hours before the Senate was set to debate the STOCK Act.

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Bill to ban Congressional insider trading targets president, White House staff

Sen. Mitch McConnell announced the bill hours before the Senate was set to debate the STOCK Act.

President Barack Obama would be held to the same standards as Congress under legislation being considered by the Senate to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks based on insider information, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R –KY) announced Tuesday morning.

McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor just hours before the chamber was set to begin debating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Obama called on Congress to pass the legislation in his State of the Union speech last week.

“I expect senators on both sides of the aisle will have a number of amendments to this legislation. But one thing that stands out is the fact that the president is calling on Congress to live up to a standard that he isn’t requiring of his own employees,” McConnell said.

“So I think we can expect at least one amendment that calls on executive branch employees to live up to the same standards that they would set for others. If the goal here is for everybody to play by the same rules, that shouldn’t mean everybody — except those in the executive branch. After all, if anybody has access to privileged information at the moment it’s them,” McConnell said.

McConnell did not indicate when Republicans expect to introduce their amendment, but debate on the STOCK Act is scheduled to continue through the week with a vote on passage by Friday.

The Senate passed the procedural vote Monday night 93-2 to allow debate to move forward on the bill.

Although Democrats have not signaled whether they will accept the Republican’s amendment to hold the president accountable in the bill, Reid said on Monday his party is willing to ban insider trading for members of Congress.

“Insider trading laws were created to level the playing field, and members of Congress are not above the law,” Reid said. “We must play by the same rules every other American plays by.”

Ethical rules already prohibit members of Congress from using their insider knowledge to profit from the stock market, but the legislation would make such action illegal.

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Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events‚?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey‚??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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