House Democratic leaders were facing a discharge petition on Congress stock trading ban from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Ryan Grim, The Intercept

House Democratic leaders indicated today that they are moving forward with legislation aimed at banning members of Congress from trading stocks, a sharp reversal from their years of previous support for the practice. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has reportedly dropped her opposition to the effort, opening the way for a bill this year.

Wide majorities have long considered it ridiculous that members of Congress are able to own and trade stocks even as they have the power to move the prices of those stocks with legislative action or inaction. After multiple trading scandals, Congress required disclosure of ownership and trades, though members frequently flout the rules.

nancy pelosi shrugging

Pelosi may simply be bowing to the inevitable and caving to broad public pressure, but there was a specific, internal push that may have made a difference: a discharge petition in the works from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

A House rule allows 218 members who sign such a petition to force a bill onto the floor for a vote. Last week, Ocasio-Cortez got that process started by filing a bill banning member stock trades with the Rules Committee filled with requirements that would make the committee very unlikely to pass it. The resolution would have required an immediate floor vote on the bill and barred amendments.

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