Trading curbs were first authorized through 1990 legislation introduced by then-Representative Markey following the 1987 stock market crash


Washington (March 16, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), formerly Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance, issued the following statement after trading curbs, more commonly known as “circuit breakers,” were again triggered this morning to halt trading on major U.S. indices following large drops upon the markets’ opening. The circuit breakers were triggered this morning for the third time this month, as a result of COVID-19-induced market volatility. They were authorized as part of then-Representative Markey’s Market Reform Act of 1990, which gave the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the power to impose trading curbs on the market during periods of excessive volatility.


“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause volatility in global securities markets, the circuit breakers that the Market Reform Act of 1990 gave the SEC to authority impose are something for which investors should be grateful,” said Senator Markey. “We may be in for a prolonged period of market uncertainty and whipsaw trading, so it is more important than ever that we have the tools we need to protect American investors, big and small, by hitting the pause button on trading when circumstances warrant.”