U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who has been friendly toward crypto and critical of regulators, is trying his hand at becoming the next House Speaker as a leadership saga continues.
Emmer, along with eight other candidates, including Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Pete Sessions, R-Texas, announced their bids for House Speaker on Sunday.
House Majority Whip Emmer has introduced bills over the past few years including one to create a new definition for tokens and another that would ban the Federal Reserve from issuing a direct CBDC. He has also been supportive of a bill that takes a comprehensive approach at a regulatory framework for crypto, while slamming Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler for taking a "regulation by harassment approach" toward digital assets.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly nominated Emmer, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Minnesota Republican needs to get elected this week. McCarthy was ousted earlier this month following a power struggle with lawmakers including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Since McCarthy's vacancy, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has taken over his post temporarily, which some have said wasted precious time needed to move certain crypto bills forward. Two of those bills advanced out of the House Financial Services Committee, which McHenry leads, but are essentially stalled until a House Speaker is chosen.
Two in the recent pool of candidates, Donalds and Sessions, have also voiced support for crypto innovation.
"Many innovators who use blockchain tech want to do business here, but stay away due to uncertainty caused by Congressional inaction & an overzealous SEC. We've been the global financial epicenter but are quickly becoming a place that innovators avoid. It's time to take action," Donalds posted in July on X.
Emmer is the frontrunner, but that doesn't guarantee he will become speaker, Ron Hammond, director of government relations at the Blockchain Association, posted on X.
Other tries from lawmakers, including from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Steve Scalise, R-La., to become House speaker have failed to get the needed votes over the past few weeks.
The House is expected to meet Monday and vote as early as Tuesday for House speaker, according to news reports.
House Financial Services happenings
A few House Financial Services Committee hearings are scheduled for this week, including one on Wednesday from its digital asset subcommittee titled "Modernizing Financial Services Through Innovation and Competition."
Other hearings this week will discuss Hamas and sanctions evasions, with another to focus on Iran's access to funds.
It is not clear what specifically lawmakers plan to discuss, but some, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have said they are concerned about how Hamas raised millions of dollars through crypto ahead of attacks in Israel.
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