Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., announced his retirement on Thursday, potentially making room for a crypto-friendly chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee following Chair Patrick McHenry's leave at the beginning of 2025.
The House Financial Services Committee, led by McHenry, has advanced bills aimed at regulating stablecoins and taking a comprehensive approach to crypto's market structure. Luetkemeyer, who has a spot on that committee, had previously said he planned to run for McHenry's chairmanship.
Luetkemeyer's leave at the end of 2024 means Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., could take on the chairmanship. Hill leads that committee's digital assets focused panel and has worked on crypto legislation regarding stablecoins, among others.
Hill has a really good track record of working with members across the aisle, said Ron Hammond, director of government relations at the Blockchain Association.
"If Hill were to be chair, crypto likely would remain a top tier issue within the committee — similar to how McHenry has prioritized crypto under his chairmanship," Hammond said.
Luetkemeyer wasn't anti-crypto, said Hammond, but added that if he would have become chair, crypto would not be a high priority for him compared to Hill or McHenry.
Hill is seen as a top contender for the House Financial Services chair spot. Behind Hill, Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., could also have a chance if Republicans still have control of the House of Representatives following election season later this year, Hammond said.
Crypto legislation would still have to be brought to the Senate Banking Committee, which could prove to be a challenge.
"Even in the lobbying circles, most folks did not know that this would be happening," Hammond said, when talking about Luetkemeyer's retirement.
Luetkemeyer said he decided not to file for re-election following discussions with his family, according to a statement on Thursday.
"Over the coming months, as I finish up my last term, I look forward to continuing to work with all my constituents on their myriad of issues as well as work on the many difficult and serious problems confronting our great country," Luetkemeyer said. "There is still a lot to do."
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