U.S. House Will Have Crypto Bill in 2 Months: McHenry

AUSTIN, Texas – The U.S. House Financial Services Committee and House Agriculture Committee will put together legislation to oversee the crypto sector in the “next two months” after holding joint public hearings starting May, said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R–N.C.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

When asked whether such a bill could be signed by President Joe Biden in the next 12 months, McHenry told a crowd at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2023 event, “yes.” The key lawmaker was quick to provide a rider that it’s always a challenge to legislate something new into existence.

“What we plan to do over the next two months is report a deal out,” McHenry said, adding that the bill will address both securities and commodities regimes and issues that are hard to fix on either side.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), the other panellist during the session, said she looked forward to coordinating those efforts with McHenry, adding that the House had a better chance than the Senate at getting legislation through earlier. She said if the House moves first on crypto, it would “improve our chances” in the Senate.

“We have tried to keep partisan tinge off this subject,” Lummis said. “This is a bipartisan subject we need to address before the 2024 election.”

The U.S. Congress has so far been unable to get comprehensive legislation on crypto passed despite a number of bills making progress on Capitol Hill last year.

Read full coverage of Consensus 2023 here.

But this month Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee took a swing at finding bipartisanship support for a second effort at stablecoin legislation, though bipartisan support remains uncertain. Republicans introduced a discussion draft which may mark a new starting point for negotiations with Democrats.

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Lummis, who has been dubbed the Senate’s “Crypto Queen,” had introduced the bipartisan “Responsible Financial Innovation Act,” aimed at creating a regulatory framework for the industry last year with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Lummis told the crowd at Consensus that a new-and-improved version of the bill will be unveiled in six to eight weeks.

“We are probably going to have a stronger section on national security. You will see a stronger cybercrime aspect to our bill,” Lummis said.

A bipartisan bill introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday calls for the federal government to study crypto use cases for yasa dışı activity, including studying how terrorists or other criminals might use cryptocurrencies.

Last week, McHenry’s committee grilled U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler over his refusal to say whether ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was a security.

“Congress needs to provide sufficient guidance there,” said Lummis. “I anticipate we will still be using the Howey Test” in the most çağdaş way expressed by U.S. courts.

While the deadlock in Congress between Republicans and Democrats continues, lawmakers have been facing increasing pressure to legislate the industry after the meltdown of the FTX crypto exchange and the more recent collapse in crypto banking.

Edited by Jesse Hamilton.

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