Tuesday, 28 November 2023

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US Congress remains legislatively paralyzed on crypto bills without a House Speaker

US Congress remains legislatively paralyzed on crypto bills without a House Speaker

No piece of legislation — crypto-related or otherwise — has largely been able to move through the United States Congress since Oct. 3, when lawmakers voted to oust then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the legislative body has been without elected leadership, with no definitive plan to fill the slot.

At the time of publication, there are several candidates in the running for the third most powerful role in the U.S. government, but it’s unclear if any of them have enough support from Republican lawmakers — the political party currently holding the majority of seats in the House — to win. Following Speaker McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise won a majority of Republican votes in a closed-door session, but he later dropped out, leaving the door open for Rep. Jim Jordan to attempt a run.

Rep. Jordan went through three rounds of voting — losing more support from his Republican colleagues with each round — before the party voted him out as their nominee in a closed-door meeting. This effectively means the Speaker’s position is open to anyone, Democrat or Republican, with no clear path forward. All Democrats present for the three rounds voted unanimously for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader.

Patrick McHenry, chair of the House Financial Services Committee and interim Speaker following McCarthy’s ousting, may be a candidate for the full-time role. Preoccupied with his duties as temporary Speaker, McHenry could see Rep. French Hill step into the role of leading the Financial Services Committee, overseeing legislation on digital assets and otherwise. Tom Emmer, another crypto-friendly lawmaker, said on Oct. 20 that he planned to seek the Speaker seat, drumming up support from some of his Republican colleagues — reportedly including McCarthy.

“[I]f the [Republicans] can’t get a consensus on a clear candidate, it is likely McHenry will remain temp speaker,” said the Blockchain Association director of government relations Ron Hammond, in an Oct. 23 X (formerly Twitter) thread. “[Rep. Byron Donalds] is also in the race and he has also been a…

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