The Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) hopes to hold a committee vote, "in the next couple of weeks," on a bill she wrote to shift more authority over digital assets to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The Michigan Democrat also told The Block that a full Senate vote, the next step for the bill to become law, could happen before the end of this current Congress.
“We’re probably not looking at any kind of floor action until after the election,” Stabenow said. Little time remains on the legislative calendar, meaning the bill faces long odds to becoming law during the current Congress, which wraps up in early January. But because the bill has bipartisan backing, including from top Agriculture Committee Republican Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), Stabenow expressed hope it could get a vote before the full Senate, a significant symbolic step.
Any legislation not passed into law before the end of a Congress—every two years—must be reintroduced in order to continue to receive consideration.
The congressional agriculture committees hold jurisdiction over the CFTC because a majority of commodities are considered agriculture. Because bitcoin does not fall under the definition of a securities investment under U.S. law, it has been viewed by regulators more as a commodity, though the CFTC can only regulate derivatives, like futures and options, and not underlying assets from which those derivative investments are made.
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