Crypto advocates weigh on race for next US House Speaker

Regulation

At the time of publication, half of the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States was largely paralyzed following a vote ousting then Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

U.S. lawmakers voted to declare the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives vacant on Oct. 3, marking the first time in the history of the United States the government body was without leadership. Representatives are scheduled to return to Congress on Oct. 11 to vote on a new Speaker, with reports suggesting that Republicans Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise were the leading candidates.

Following McCarthy’s absence, crypto-friendly lawmaker Patrick McHenry has been acting as the interim Speaker but is not expected to be a contender for the job. Former U.S. President Donald Trump has given his endorsement to Jordan, who has repeated falsehoods surrounding the results of the 2020 presidential election. Scalise, who has reportedly described himself as akin to white supremacist David Duke “without the baggage” may also receive support from many in the Republican Party.

“[The Speaker’s race] paralyzes the House on nearly every front legislatively,” said the Blockchain Association director of government relations Ron Hammond in an Oct. 10 X thread. “If it drags out over another week then a lot of things can happen including potential new speaker candidates coming forward. For crypto though, McHenry is still the person to watch. He wants votes on crypto ASAP.”

According to Hammond, the uncertainty surrounding the House Speaker along with the criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried and the war between Israel and Hamas “could push bills like stablecoins” to November or December:

“These major events will also dovetail into the 2024 election cycle. Presidential election years are hard to pass anything meaningful in Congress as everyone is focusing on winning.”

Ji Kim, head of global policy for the Crypto Council for Innovation, told Cointelegraph crypto was “becoming a priority” for Congress. According to Kim, legislation including the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act and the Clarity for Payment Stablecoin Act “will likely be delayed until a new Speaker is elected”. 

Related: Crypto bills could be delayed as many prepare for US gov’t shutdown

It’s unclear how Republican lawmakers plan to prevent a repeat of the events leading to McCarthy being chosen as Speaker in January. It took 15 rounds of voting before the California Representative could officially hold the gavel, during which time all legislation was on hold.

Neither Jordan nor Scalise have been particularly outspoken about any pro- or anti-crypto positions they may hold. Crypto-focused bills passed by the House Financial Services Committee in July could move forward with a floor vote in the full House before the next session of Congress, but delays in determining a Speaker and consequently dealing with a potential government shutdown in November could stymie progress.

Magazine: Opinion: GOP crypto maxis almost as bad as Dems’ ‘anti-crypto army’

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