The US Senate has approved legislation to strengthen ethics rules by forbidding lawmakers from buying stocks based on information they gather while performing their duties.
After several weeks of discussions, the Senate approved the bill Thursday by a vote of 96-3, paving the way for President Barack Obama to sign it into law. The House approved its version of the bill last month by 417-2.
The bill forbids not only elected officials but also congressional and White House staff from buying some stock products if they have inside information.
Elected officials would also have to report any purchases they make on the stock exchange of more than $1,000 within 90 days.
Members of Congress and the administration often get private briefings from top corporate executives.
President Barack Obama, who had called for such a law during his State of the Union address earlier this year, welcomed the legislation, calling it “a good first step” and vowing to sign it into law.
“In the months ahead, Congress should do even more to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people,” he added in a statement.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a top Republican, said the bill “is a product of bipartisan efforts in the House and the Senate and will help restore the public’s trust in their elected officials.”
The bill was adopted after Obama pushed lawmakers to act on the issue, at a time when opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans do not approve of the job Congress is doing.