McHenry Urges Senate to Approve FIT21 Crypto Bill Before Presidential Election

McHenry Urges Senate to Approve FIT21 Crypto Bill Before Presidential Election

Patrick McHenry, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, is urging the Senate to pass the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21) before the upcoming November presidential election. On May 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FIT21 bill with significant support, 279 to 136, moving it to the Senate for consideration.

In an interview with Bloomberg’s Balance of Power on May 30, McHenry emphasized the urgency, stating, “They need to stay focused on getting policy here and get it done before the election.” He hopes the Senate will recognize the importance of the bill, especially given its strong approval in the House.

The FIT21 bill aims to clarify cryptocurrency regulations by classifying most cryptocurrencies as commodities, placing them under the oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The crypto industry generally views the CFTC as more favorable compared to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which would retain authority over cryptocurrencies that do not meet decentralization criteria.

McHenry, set to retire from Congress in January, noted the Senate’s initial surprise at the bill’s substantial House support. “For us to pass that important bill FIT21 with a two-thirds vote of the House of Representatives in these divided times, it is a major statement,” he said.

The Senate has no set deadline for action on FIT21, but it requires a majority vote of at least 51 senators to pass. McHenry has been collaborating with Democrat Maxine Waters on cryptocurrency and stablecoin legislation, suggesting that new regulations might need to be part of a larger legislative package to progress through the Senate.

Critics of the FIT21 bill argue it is too lenient towards the crypto industry, while the Biden administration stresses that digital asset legislation must balance consumer protection with innovation opportunities.

McHenry also rejected Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown’s proposal to link a stablecoin package to a bipartisan marijuana banking bill, which is a priority for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I’m not in favor of the cannabis banking legislation,” McHenry stated, citing his previous votes against it.

He added that Republicans would “apply pressure in the best way we can” to push Schumer and the Senate to prioritize the crypto bill’s passage.

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