Republicans are typically the ones advocating for maintaining US financial dominance through the passage of crypto-friendly regulations, but today the tables turned.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA., expressed a rare change of tune Wednesday, suggesting that Republicans are preventing the US dollar from maintaining its global reserve currency status and hindering innovation with their new anti-central bank digital currency legislation.
During a House Financial Services Committee markup Wednesday, representatives considered several pieces of pending legislation, including Rep. Tom Emmer’s, R-Minn., Central Bank Digital Currency Anti-Surveillance State Act.
“We’re allowing 130 other countries that are all researching this CBDC idea, we’re allowing them to take the initiative away from the United States, plain and simple,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said Wednesday.
The proposed bill would block the Federal Reserve from directly offering a CBDC to individuals and using it to implement monetary policy. Emmer first brought the bill to the House floor in February before reintroducing it this month.
“Unfortunately, this bill, which I will call the CBDC anti-innovation act…would commonly shut down important work the Fed is doing to research a potential US CBDC,” Waters said Wednesday. “Instead of taking steps to ensure the United States wins the digital currency space race against emerging powers like China, Republicans are making baseless attacks against the CBDC that does not even exist.”
Emmer defended his legislation, which currently has the backing of 60 members of Congress, he said, arguing that the bill protects Americans from invasive and dangerous technology.
“This bill is simple,” Emmer said. “It halts the efforts of this administrative state under President Biden from issuing a financial surveillance tool that will undermine the American way of life.”
Other Democrats were also quick to point out perceived contradictions in Republicans’ stance toward crypto.
“I’m struck by the hypocrisy of the advocates of cryptocurrency,” Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Cali., said. “They come in and they say ‘cryptocurrency is wonderful because it’s digital and it’s high-tech and it’s innovative,’ and then they propose a bill which, in the words of the ranking member, is an anti-innovation bill.”
Emmer disagreed that being pro-crypto inherently means being pro-CBDC, noting that the technologies are vastly different.
“Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, a central bank digital currency is a digital form of sovereign currency that is designed and issued by a government and transacts on a digital ledger that is controlled by that government,” Emmer said.
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