Democrat Lawmaker Calls for ‘New Leaders’ Within Own Party After Stock Trade Ban Vote Stalls

Democrat Lawmaker Calls for ‘New Leaders’ Within Own Party After Stock Trade Ban Vote Stalls

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) called for new House Democratic leadership after a vote to ban congressional lawmakers from trading stocks was stalled indefinitely in the lower chamber.

On Tuesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act prohibiting senior government officials and their family members from trading stocks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) directed her to craft the legislation in February. However, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) indicated that the bill would not be voted on before the midterms.

“Probably no vote this week,” Hoyer told CNN on Friday, as congressional members leave to focus on their campaigns ahead of the midterm elections on November 8.

“I haven’t read it, it’s a complicated issue, as you can imagine, as a new rule for members they have to follow, and their families as I understand, so I think it deserves careful study to make sure if we do something, we do it right,”

Spanberger, who introduced similar legislation in early 2021, tore into the Democrat leadership officials for waffling around on bringing the bill to a vote.

“Our job as elected officials is to serve the people — not ourselves,” the Virginia Democrat said in a statement on Friday.

Spanberger continued:

For months, momentum grew in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to finally take a step towards prohibiting Members of Congress from day trading while on the job. We saw remarkable progress towards rectifying glaring examples of conflicts of interest. And after first signaling her opposition to these reforms, the Speaker purportedly reversed her position. However, our bipartisan reform coalition was then subjected to repeated delay tactics, hand-waving gestures, and blatant instances of Lucy pulling the football.

The Virginia Democrat then called for a change of House leadership within her own party while accusing them of sabotaging the legislation so it would not pass:

This moment marks a failure of House leadership — and it’s yet another example of why I believe that the Democratic Party needs new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill, as I have long made known. [Emphasis Added]

It’s apparent that House leadership does not have its heart in this effort, because the package released earlier this week was designed to fail. It was written to create confusion surrounding reform efforts and complicate a straightforward reform priority — banning Members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks — all while creating the appearance that House Leadership wanted to take action.

The scathing criticism of Pelosi and other House Democrat leaders comes as Spanberger has made attempts within the past two years to convince voters she is a moderate politician. Nonetheless, she faces a tough reelection battle as recent polling shows Democrats at risk of losing the lower chamber to the GOP.

This is not the first time Spanberger has called out members of her own party, as she has previously expressed that her Democrat colleagues should “consider a different job” if a ban on trading stocks was a dealbreaker for them.

Pelosi shrugged off Spanberger’s criticisms at a Friday press conference, saying her ideas were already included in Lofgren’s legislation, the Hill reported.

“Her bill is in the bill, others had ideas too. And that’s what the committee put forth,” the Speaker told reporters. “But it’s good press because you asked a question.”

The Speaker also defended the House Democrat’s inability to bring the bill to the floor, saying,  “We have to have the votes to bring it up.”

Pelosi, along with her husband Paul, are among the highest earners in congress from stock trading.

The couple recently came under fire after they bought 20,000 shares of semiconductor stocks worth up to $5 million before the Senate was about to vote on a computer chip subsidy bill this summer. Paul Pelosi ended up selling his shares at a loss after facing mounting public criticism.

Lawmakers are required under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 to submit a periodic transaction report within 30 to 45 days of stock transactions over $1,000 made on their behalf or that of their spouses.

In 2011, Breitbart News Senior Contributor and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) Peter Schweizer rocked official Washington with his investigative revelations of insider trading by members of Congress. Left-leaning Slate hailed Schweizer’s blockbuster book on the topic, Throw Them All Out, “the book that started the STOCK Act stampede.”

The bipartisan STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) banned insider trading by members of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 4, 2012. The legislation received overwhelming support from both parties. One of the main figures featured in Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out, then-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Spencer Bachus (R-AL), announced he would not seek reelection after the book’s reporting.

Indeed, Bachus was the only elected official the late Andrew Breitbart ever called on to resign.

CBS’s 60 Minutes did an investigative report on Schweizer’s revelations that won them the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based journalism.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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CNBC’s Gumede: U.S. ‘Definitely in a Recession’ by Definition and Things Look Much ‘More Negative’ with Consumers Going into the Red

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” CNBC International Financial Journalist Arabile Gumede said that the revised GDP numbers show that the U.S. economy is in a recession according to the technical definition, and that while some people dispute whether we’re in one, “you can kind of get the sense that” with prices going up “things are certainly looking a whole lot more negative. Consumers certainly getting into the red as well when it comes to their bank balances across the board.”

Host Jonathan Lemire asked, “So, the U.S. government’s final reading of our gross domestic product last quarter shows that the economy shrank at an annual rate of .6%. Does that mean, technically, the United States economy is already in a recession?”

Gumede answered, “Yeah, technically, certainly it does seem so, right? It was a confirmed adjusted 1.6% dropoff in the first quarter’s GDP numbers, 0.6% decline in the second quarter. Technically, the definition does say two quarters of negative growth means that you’re in a recession. But, how many times have we heard, of course, leaders, whether it be economic leaders or even political leaders, including Joe Biden himself, say that the economy’s not necessarily in a recession. But you can kind of get the sense that, with everything going a little bit higher, whether it be from — right through from gas to all other sectors of the economy struggling, including food, things are certainly looking a whole lot more negative. Consumers certainly getting into the red as well when it comes to their bank balances across the board. So, you are going to see a lot of that come through. Whether it is official that they’re in a recession, I suppose someone may need to call it, but according to the technical numbers, though, yeah, definitely in a recession.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Stock Market Tanked 14 Percent Since Biden’s Inflationary Boondoggle Passed

The stock market continued its downward spiral on Thursday as the economy struggles to cope with Democrats’ reckless spending adding fuel to runaway inflation.

All three benchmark indexes closed under their opening value with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 450 points. The NASDAQ dropped nearly 3 percent Thursday and the S&P 500 fell by nearly 80 points.

The Dow’s decline marks a continued trend since the signature passage of President Joe Biden’s dubiously named “Inflation Reduction Act” on Aug. 16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now fallen nearly 5,000 points, or more than 14 percent, in the aftermath of Biden’s bill becoming law.

The U.S. inflation rate, meanwhile, remains at a four-decade high with Labor Department data out in early September revealing that prices rose 8.3 percent last month over the year prior. When Biden celebrated the bill’s passage at the White House in mid-September, markets continued to plunge as James Taylor played “Fire and Rain” on the South Lawn.

In July, official GDP numbers revealed two consecutive quarters of negative growth, meaning the country is in a recetion. The Biden administration responded by pretending the recession doesn’t exist and sought to redefine the term, and his lapdogs in the corporate media followed the administration’s lead.

“Most economists and most Americans,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters, “have a similar definition of recession — substantial job losses and mass layoffs, businesses shutting down, private sector activity slowing considerably, family budgets under immense strain. In sum, a broad-based weakening of our economy. That is not what we’re seeing right now.”

Most Americans are struggling to cope with inflation, however, with prices for gas and groceries increasing far higher than what they were when Biden took office. The nationwide average for a gallon of gasoline, for example, is $1.36 higher than in January 2021.

According to a survey published by the University of Michigan the month before Yellen’s comments to reporters, consumer sentiment plunged to its lowest record. Inflation also remains at the top of voters’ minds in poll after poll headed into the November midterms. Yet in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Biden claimed the inflation rate was up “hardly at all.”

[READ: Grocery Shop With Me To Fact-Check Biden’s Inflation Up ‘Hardly At All’ Claim]

As the nation’s economic health continues to deteriorate, the stock market will keep collapsing. The falling markets have already wiped out more than $9 trillion in U.S. household wealth.


Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

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GOP Rep. Buddy Carter: Biden’s Drained SPR and Now We Might Need It

GOP Rep. Buddy Carter: Biden’s Drained SPR and Now We Might Need It

On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “Kennedy,” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) said that we now find ourselves in a situation where we might need the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for what it’s actually designed for, but the reserve has been drained by President Joe Biden.

Host Jackie DeAngelis asked, [relevant remarks begin around 1:35] “Obviously, supplies are going to be needed in Florida. This is the kind of thing that we keep the SPR for, emergencies within the country that are as a result of a natural disaster. If the situation worsens in Georgia, in the Carolinas, and all of a sudden, we find ourselves needing more supplies than anticipated when the administration and the President [have] allocated those supplies, essentially, to just bring the price of gas down as a result of high inflation, your thoughts on where we stand, as a country, going into this.”

Carter responded, “Well, that’s a great point. And that’s what the reserves are for, for emergency situations, not to bring down the price of gas so that you can bring down inflation, which is what the Biden administration has used it for. Now, we find ourselves in a situation where perhaps we are going to need it.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Mortgage Rates Surge to 6.7% — More than Double Since Last Year

Mortgage Rates Surge to 6.7% — More than Double Since Last Year

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate surged to 6.7 percent on Thursday, more than double what it was a year ago.

According to data from Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped by 0.41 percent from a week ago. A year ago, the rate was at 3.01 percent. It is also the highest it has been since July 2007, when the subprime mortgage crisis was in its early stages.

While the federal reserve recently hiked interest rates between three and 3.25 percent, the highest since 2008, the mortgage rate is not directly tied to the Fed but rather the ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield.

As Breitbart New’s Economics Editor John Carney explains:

The Federal Reserve does not directly control mortgage rates. Instead, it targets the overnight lending rate for banks and pays interest on overnight reserve levels. Longer-term interest rates reflect the expected path of short-term rates over time. Mortgage rates, in turn, tend to reflect the direction of long-term rates, especially the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds.

The ten-year bond yield on Thursday dropped to 3.75 percent after it was recorded at four percent on Wednesday — the highest it had been at in over a decade, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The rise in mortgage interest rates comes at a time when the U.S. housing market is already slowing down. In August, home sales were down 12.7 percent from the previous month and down 29.6 percent from a year ago, Breitbart News noted.

Increased mortgage rates may also spook existing homeowners from selling since they would tie themselves to a higher rate.

According to Bankrate.com, if an individual were to purchase a $500,000 home with a 20 percent downpayment today, they would expect to pay approximately $259,000 in interest over 30 years. However, if they purchased a home for the same price and down payment when President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January 2021, they would only be paying $189,400 in interest over 30 years.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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“Hard Lessons”: Scathing New Report Counts the Cost of Extreme COVID-19 Lockdowns

From 1.8 million years of life lost in Australia to almost a trillion dollars of financial costs, the COVID-19 lockdowns over the past three years have cost Australians far more than they have delivered. That’s according to a new research analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs.

We all probably suspected that the costs of COVID-19 lockdowns would be gigantic. However, time and time again, governments assured us that they were doing what was necessary to keep us safe.

A recent report by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has called this claim into question by attempting to calculate the”‘economic, social and humanitarian costs of zero-COVID”. The document is entitled Hard Lessons: Reckoning the Economic, Social, and Humanitarian Costs of Zero-COVID and can be found on the IPA’s website.

The study is not the first to do so, however. In September 2021, a critical assessment of COVID data, published in the International Journal of the Economics of Business, concluded that the lockdowns would ultimately cost more lives than they saved.

As the authors of the new IPA report highlight, people often juxtapose “lives” and “the economy” when arguing about the cost of lockdowns. However, the authors point out that this is a false contrast:

“It is important to note that this is not about ‘lives’ vs ‘the economy’. The lives impacted by covid-19 are no more or less valuable than lives harmed by the response to covid-19. This report demonstrates that far more years of life will be lost due to the restrictions than have been saved.

Thus, on a metric focused solely on the number of lives saved/lost, the strict restrictions were a failure. In addition to this, the response to Covid-19 has caused a significant reduction to the net mental wellbeing, economic prosperity, and educational levels of society.”

The research was written by Morgan Begg, the Director of the Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs, and Daniel Wild, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs, and its findings are scathing.

Lockdowns Do Not Work

The report doesn’t mince words: “Lockdowns did not work,” it states bluntly. The aggressive measures found in Australia were “enabled” by “alarmist modelling” at the start of the pandemic based on a series of faulty assumptions.

“The logic of locking down to save lives is based on the intuitive assumption that restricting the movement of people will reduce the transmission in the community of an infectious disease.

It is simplistic and myopic in that it assumes that totalitarian controls can be exercised over human behaviour without the detrimental costs of the lockdowns outweighing the benefits.”

The research found that the years of life lost through lockdowns dramatically outweighed the number of lives saved by them:

“There is a positive correlation between employment and life expectancy. Unemployment reduces life expectancy due to a number of well-documented causes, including cardiovascular disease; increased illicit substance and alcohol abuse, and suicide.

The modelling in this report shows that the costs of joblessness and not working as a result for (sic) the first nationwide lockdowns in March and April 2020 were 31 times greater than the maximum possible benefits of all lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021. The nationwide lockdowns imposed in March and April 2020 accounted for a total of over 1.8 million years of life lost due to joblessness alone.”

Staggering Costs

While lives saved or lost is, of course, the most important metric for measuring the effectiveness of the lockdowns, the study also examined the financial costs of the unprecedented restrictions.

It measured “net direct economic cost” and “state and federal government spending” as well as the “aggregated cost of the inflationary effects of zero-covid policies”. In total, the authors estimate a total cost of over $938 billion.

The final measured cost of the lockdowns in the study was their “significant” impact on students. The authors concluded:

“This detriment was most pronounced in Victoria, where students missed more than five terms of in-person schooling, which resulted in Year 9 students falling behind by the equivalent of 12 weeks and 17 weeks of reading and numeracy skills, respectively.”

The report’s findings are certainly not unexpected for many people. Nevertheless, they make for sober reading. And, appropriately, the researchers noted that there “are numerous socio-economic, recreational, lifestyle, and mental health harms as a consequence of lockdown measures which have not yet been fully quantified but will be a significant ongoing cost of zero-covid.”

Millions of Australians are experiencing ongoing harm, setbacks and trauma because of the extended and unnecessary lockdowns governments inflicted upon them.

The cost can never be fully calculated.

___

Photo by EVG Kowalievska.

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GOP Sen. Cassidy: Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is at 37-Year Low in Face of a Hurricane Because Biden Used It to Compensate for Bad Policies

GOP Sen. Cassidy: Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is at 37-Year Low in Face of a Hurricane Because Biden Used It to Compensate for Bad Policies

On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “Fox Business Tonight,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) stated that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is at a 37-year low in the face of Hurricane Ian making landfall in Florida because President Joe Biden drained the reserve in a “political move” to compensate for his bad energy policies.

Host Sean Duffy said, “[T]he Strategic Petroleum oil Reserve [is] at a 37-year low. We have that reserve for what we see happening in Florida right now when you have a hurricane hit or a disaster hit, something that’s unforeseen, [so] that we can tap into that reserve to shore up American supply. Joe Biden has used it just to drive down prices, in — I would argue — in anticipation for the midterm elections trying to help his party.”

Cassidy responded, “I totally agree with you. This is a political move. We should be already planning to refill that reserve. But ideally, we would not have had to have tapped into it. We could have increased domestic production. Now, by the way, that portion of our energy economy that Biden does not control, privately-held lands, the rig count is up. We’re probably producing about a million more barrels per month on private lands. We need the President to open up the tap, if you will, on public lands, off the coast of Louisiana, Texas, etc. That would create American jobs, it would produce more American energy, it would drive down prices, and we could leave the SPR alone.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Tucker Carlson Discusses Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage, Almost Certainly a U.S. Covert Action Against Russia

Tucker Carlson Discusses Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage, Almost Certainly a U.S. Covert Action Against Russia

Tucker Carlson accurately outlined the most likely suspect of the sabotage against Russia’s Nord Stream I and II pipeline today.  When you consider the media blitz by Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, last weekend (ABC, CNN, NBC and CBS); specifically pointing out the U.S. position against Russia; it is almost a certainty that U.S. action was behind the underwater detonation of explosives to take out Nord Stream pipeline system.  WATCH:

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