House Republicans seek central bank digital currency opinion from Department of Justice

Quick Take

  • Top House Financial Services Committee Republican led a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting the Justice Department’s assessment of whether legislation is needed for the U.S. to issue a central bank digital currency.
  • The request comes after the Biden administration released a series of digital asset reports, and as the Federal Reserve weighs issuing a CBDC.

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee requested the Department of Justice share its assessment of a potential central bank digital currency, the lawmakers announced on Wednesday.

Senior Republicans on the committee, Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., and other senior members of the committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for his view on whether legislation is necessary for a CBDC. 

The letter comes weeks after the Biden administration released a series of digital asset reports, which examined a possible central bank digital currency, among other issues. President Joe Biden’s executive order that triggered the reports requested the Department of Justice to determine whether legislation is necessary to issue a CBDC. 

“We appreciate the efforts to examine the impact a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency will have on the Federal Reserve and its monetary policy tools; potential risks to our existing payments system; private sector competition and innovation; and the impact on American’s privacy, civil liberties, and security,” the letter reads. “However, the appropriate place for the discussion on whether authorizing legislation is necessary is in the legislative branch.” 

Other lawmakers who signed on include GOP Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C., Bill Huizenga, R-Wisc., Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and Tom Emmer, R-Minn. The lawmakers asked Garland to provide the Justice Department's opinion on CBDC legislation by Oct. 15.

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