U.S. House's Emmer Says Best Hope for Crypto Legislation Is Year-End Session

The Republican majority whip, Rep. Tom Emmer, suggested headwinds for a major crypto bill in this waning session, with a best shot in the so-called lame-duck session after the election.

AccessTimeIconMay 29, 2024 at 5:56 p.m. UTC
Updated May 30, 2024 at 9:59 a.m. UTC
  • One of the top members of the U.S. House of Representatives predicted that the best remaining chance for major crypto legislation this year is in a tight window at the end of the congressional session.
  • Republican Emmer noted the major recent support from Democrats in Congress for crypto measures, but he suggested the U.S. Senate probably has significant work to do.

Despite the crypto industry's high-profile recent wins in Congress, major legislation faces a massive practical roadblock in the Senate, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) acknowledged Wednesday, saying that chamber will want its own say in a big crypto bill, leaving little time in the waning congressional session.

If there's a chance for the House-approved Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21), Emmer said said at CoinDesk's Consensus 2024 event in Austin, Texas, it's "probably more likely during the lame-duck" – the session of Congress that occurs between the election and the transition to the new session at the start of the year. It's a period in which must-move legislation is often targeted with unrelated add-on bills that can jump into law through fast-moving negotiations.

In the normal legislative course, Emmer, who is top leader in the House as the majority whip for the Republican caucus, pointed out that FIT21 – which got hefty support in the House – is now on-deck in the Senate. If lawmakers there actually pick it up or engage in serious work on a similar bill, that effort would need another run-through in the House.

"They're going to want to change it, which means it comes back to the House," Emmer said, though he noted the major emerging support from Democrats on this and other crypto matters.

On FIT21, the first comprehensive digital assets legislation to win approval in one of the chambers of Congress, 71 Democrats joined in the yes vote despite opposition from President Joe Biden, including former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Similarly, a separate effort to overturn a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accounting policy, Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB 121), drew a hefty surge of Democrats when it passed the House and Senate, including from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Biden threatened to veto that resolution.

Emmer said there is "a ton of goodwill under the surface" for such crypto issues.

He argued events have overtaken the "anti-crypto" Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who he said has an outsized influence over the White House.

Emmer also argued that crypto-critical SEC Chair Gary Gensler is "on his way out" and losing favor in the administration.

Still, he warned, "I'd be very careful about trusting a cornered animal."

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.