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Senate to Hold STOCK Act Vote-A-Rama

Senate leaders today agreed to wrap up work on legislation designed to reinforce a ban on Congressional insider trading and will begin voting on up to 20 amendments this afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at a press conference he expects the Senate to finish the bill by this evening.

Among the amendments the Senate is expected to vote on is a ban on earmarks from Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a nonbinding amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Congressional term limits and a proposal from Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) that would require Members of Congress to disclose mortgage information about personal residences.

The Senate will also vote on amendments that would extend the ban on insider trading to the executive branch, as well as a proposal to force Senators to divest their stock holdings or turn them over to a blind trust.

Reid said the Senate will vote Monday on a compromise bill reauthorizing Federal Aviation Administration programs before then taking up a surface transportation reauthorization bill.

Reid said he is disappointed that there has not been a quick deal to extend the current payroll tax cut through the end of the year, and warned that at some point Senate Democrats would move forward with their own bill.

“I will be as patient as I need to be,” Reid said. “If they don’t want to do it on a bipartisan basis, [then we] are going to have some serious votes” in the Senate.

Reid also said he doesn’t support a proposal from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to replace automatic defense spending cuts that were put in place by the law passed last summer to raise the debt ceiling.

“We have a law that is now in place,” Reid said. “They should keep their word. That is what the American people expect them to do.”

The law requires $1.2 trillion in cuts, including a $600 billion reduction in defense spending, which would take place over 10 years. The so-called sequester was triggered by the failure of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach its own deal. The panel was charged with devising and approving a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion.

But the super committee failed to approve a plan, triggering the sequestration process which will result in the automatic, across the board cuts, divided evenly between security and non-security spending, that are set to take effect beginning in 2013.

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