House lawmakers are split on the issue of whether members of Congress should be restricted from owning or trading stocks, with moderate Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger and GOP Rep. Chip Roy becoming the latest to voice their support and urge the consideration of legislation to block what they called an "inappropriate" practice.
In an interview with NBC News, Spanberger, D-Va., suggested she would support legislation introduced by Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., called the "Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act," which would require congressional lawmakers and their families to put stocks in blind trusts to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced similar legislation called the "Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act."
"When we’re going to briefings about issues that might be percolating in the world or when we’re voting on legislation that could potentially move markets, it just seems inappropriate to me that we currently have the ability to be able to buy or sell stocks that may or may not be associated with those decisions," Spanberger told NBC News in an interview.
The Republican Roy also signaled his support for the bill.
"We’re voting on this stuff every single day. And yet people are buying and selling stocks or buying and selling Pfizer while we’re in the middle of the pandemic, like, how is that OK?" Roy told NBC News.
"I just think the American people are kind of tired of the games up here on both sides of the aisle, and they just want to see us do our job, come up here as committed public servants and not get rich day trading," Roy said.
Spanberger and Roy co-sponsored legislation in the House of Representatives last year called the "Trust in Congress Act," another bill that would require members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children to place certain assets into blind trusts, and for other purposes.
Their support comes after a group of more than two dozen lawmakers wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to "swiftly" hold a vote on any of the pieces of bipartisan legislation.
Fox News Digital obtained the letter signed by 27 members of Congress—25 House Democrats and 2 House Republicans.
In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act), the lawmakers wrote, which they said was an attempt to "prevent members of Congress from using congressional knowledge to their advantage in stock trading."
"However, one recent investigation found that the STOCK Act had been violated hundreds of times just since 2020," they wrote. "It’s clear the current rules are not working."
The lawmakers also noted that in 2020, senators from both parties "made significant stock sales after receiving closed briefings on COVID-19 but before the pandemic was fully understood by the public and impacting the market."
The lawmakers were referring to investments made by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., after a coronavirus briefing.
The trades were reviewed in 2020 after concerns that they used inside information to benefit their stock portfolios, and that they could have violated the STOCK Act.
Pelosi has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for saying members of Congress and their spouses should be allowed to trade stock as part of a "free market economy."
Pelosi, last month, suggested that she will consider proposals banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in elected office, a sharp reversal from just a month ago when she adamantly defended the practice.
"I've said to the House Administration Committee, review all the bills that are coming in and see which ones — where the support is in our caucus," Pelosi said last week. "If members want to do that, I'm OK with that."
Lawmakers' spouses are currently allowed to trade in companies or industries that their partner may help regulate. But under the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012, members of Congress and their families are forbidden to profit from inside information, and lawmakers are also required to report stock trades to Congress within 45 days.
Meanwhile, President Biden will "let members of Congress" determine whether they should be allowed to trade stocks, amid scrutiny of lawmakers’ financial trades, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
Psaki was asked whether the president believes members of Congress and their spouses should be prohibited from trading stocks. Biden is prohibited from trading stocks while serving as president.
"The president didn’t trade individual stocks when he was a senator," Psaki said. "That is how we approach things. We also believe that everyone should be held to the highest standard."
She added: "But he’ll let members of the leadership in Congress and members of Congress determine what the rules should be."