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U.S. Senate ready to vote insider-trading bill

(Xinhua)

14:20, January 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate began the first move on Monday to initiate a bill that congressmen and their staffs are banned from insider stock trading, a follow-up to President Barack Obama' s recent State of the Union address.

On a wide bipartisan procedural vote of 93 to 2, senators agreed to debate on the bill possibly later this week that would require disclosure of stock transactions within 30 days and ban their trades based on "non-public information derived from the individual's position" in Congress.

The bill "will help to limit the corrosive influence of money in politics and ensure that the Congress is playing by the same set of rules as everyone else, an important component of the president' s Blueprint for an America Built to Last", said the White House in a statement.

As some critics pointed out that the bill is symbolic in nature and aims at restoring Washington' s sagging image. It works as an assurance that members and employees of Congress are not exempt from the prohibitions of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) laws.

During floor debate, one of the bill's authors Senator Scott Brown noted that the SEC could prosecute insider trading at the Capitol.

"Beginning today, the Senate is embarking on a mission to help address the deficit of trust with the American people," said Brown.

The bill is entitled the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. President Barack Obama endorsed it in his State of the Union speech last week and also raised the issue in his radio and Internet address Saturday.

Besides Obama, the bill also had the backing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The House is expected to pass their version of the bill by the end of February.

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