April 19, 2024
U.S. Lawmakers Ponder 2024 Timeline for Crypto Legislation
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2024 Vision: U.S. Crypto Legislation Faces Senate Hurdles After House Delay

After anticipating the potential approval of U.S. crypto legislation in the House of Representatives this year, the lawmakers responsible for the groundwork are now eyeing 2024 as a more realistic timeline for the Republican-controlled chamber’s passage of digital asset bills. The efforts, however, face significant hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.

U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), serving as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s digital assets subcommittee, mentioned that the House’s examination of two significant crypto bills—one focused on regulating U.S. stablecoin issuers and the other aimed at establishing comprehensive regulations for crypto markets—is likely to shift towards early 2024.

The recent internal strife among House Republicans over selecting a new speaker, which impacted key crypto negotiator Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) as a temporary speaker, delayed the legislative process required for the bills, as stated by Hill during a Blockchain Association event in Washington. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), also present at the event, echoed this sentiment, indicating that the stablecoin bill, in particular, could see more progress next year. That is an area that could come early in 2024.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who played a pivotal role in the House negotiations for both bills alongside Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), highlighted the necessity for the industry to counter the narratives presented by House Democrats from external groups and Gary Gensler, Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, known for his critical stance on the industry.

Himes, among a handful of Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee, diverged from his party’s ranking member to support both crypto bills this year. Although Waters has indicated openness to progressing with legislation, Himes suggested that her alignment and the overall House’s approval of a bill could significantly influence the Democratic-led Senate.

Expressing concerns about the Senate’s stance on crypto, Himes referred to the viewpoints of certain Senate Democrats, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who leads the Senate Banking Committee. He emphasized the potential for progress, indicating that it likely commences with a robust bipartisan vote in the House.

Lummis, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, acknowledged the committee’s challenging stance but highlighted a positive sign in the recent presentation of crypto illicit-finance policy proposals by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, suggesting a willingness for negotiation within the administration, which might influence Senate Democrats.

Hill argued that incidents such as the FTX collapse last year and Binance’s recent significant settlement and criminal conviction could urge lawmakers to prioritize legislation. He emphasized that each instance of misconduct only reinforces that they need to do this and do it the right way, underscoring the necessity of establishing regulations to deter illicit financial activities.

However, even if a crypto bill successfully passes the House next year, it still requires approval in the Senate and a presidential signature. Achieving this might entail integrating it into a more intricate package and attaching it to essential legislation like a spending bill, considering the practicalities of the legislative process.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), collaborating with Lummis on crypto legislation, cautioned the industry audience about the time-consuming nature of passing laws, emphasizing the need for patience and strategic maneuvering to navigate the legislative landscape.

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