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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.

  • "One line in a bill in Congress can be worth millions and millions of dollars," former Rep. Brian Baird (D-Ore.) told "60 Minutes" in 2011.
  • Baird spent years advocating for The Stock Act, which prevented lawmakers from trading on inside information and increased financial disclosures. It became law in 2012, after being passed on a bipartisan basis, but later was watered down and is rarely enforced.

Driving the news: Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) plans to introduce an ethics bill that would ban lawmakers, their spouses and dependent children from trading individual stocks while in office, not just if they have inside information.

  • Ossoff is in talks with potential Republican co-sponsors, a Democratic told Axios, without confirming specific candidates.
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Tuesday tweeted his support for a trading ban, although it's not clear if he'd endorse including spouses and family members (who are included in Ossoff's more stringent bill). Hawley's office didn't respond to a request for comment.
  • Another one to watch is Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), the only Republican senator who has reported using a qualified blind trust for his personal investments.

Over in the House, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is interested in legislation to limit or ban lawmakers from trading stocks if the GOP wins control of the House, according to Punchbowl News. One such bill already exists, with more than two dozen co-sponsors.

  • Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — whose husband, Paul Pelosi, recently bought millions of dollars worth of tech stocks — refused to support a ban on legislators' market activity.
  • "We're a free-market economy," she told reporters last month. "[Lawmakers] should be able to participate in that."

Senate candidates from both parties have hopped on the ban bandwagon. Among them are Democrats Tom Nelson (Wis.) and John Fetterman (Pa.), both of whom this week endorsed Ossoff's proposal, and Republican Blake Masters (Ariz.).

  • “Democrats and Republicans equally take advantage of this and it is wrong,” Nelson tells Axios. “They don’t need to be trading like Gordon Gekko or Bud Fox. Just get mutual funds and CDs like the rest of us. How difficult can that be?”

The bottom line: The unusual coalition behind the most recent effort to stop lawmakers from trading stocks may not immediately translate into law, but it puts pressure on Congress to address one of Washington’s most glaring and persistent financial conflicts.

Go deeper

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down GOP-drawn congressional map

This Ohio congressional district map was invalidated by the state supreme court. Photo courtesy of state legislature

The Ohio Supreme Court has once again struck down a Republican-drawn legislative map for gerrymandering, this time for congressional districts.

Why it matters: Friday's decision invalidates a congressional map approved by Republican lawmakers last November.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

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