The legislation aimed at addressing supply chain issues to keep the U.S. economy and business competitive has passed the House of Representatives — without a provision that many in the cryptocurrency space have criticized for giving the Treasury Secretary the power to shut down exchanges.
On Friday, by a vote of 222 to 210, the House of Representatives passed the America Compete Act, largely along partisan lines. The provision, originally proposed by Connecticut Representative Jim Himes, would appear to allow the Treasury Secretary to have fewer restrictions on monitoring financial institutions with suspected money laundering transactions and not open the matter to public opinion. However, lawmakers changed the wording earlier this week to protect the restrictions currently in place under the Bank Secrecy Act.
I’m happy to report that @jahimes has listened to our input and it looks like the special measure protections for notices and comments in the Competition Law will be maintained! twitter.com/6mAtLD0tF9 — Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito) January 31, 2022
Before Himes essentially revoked part of his position, the non-profit cryptocurrency policy group Coin Center criticized the legislation for potentially giving “uncontrolled and unilateral powers to prohibit exchanges and other financial institutions from engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.” North Carolina Representative Ted Budd also suggested changing the provision, calling it a “big mistake”:
A new provision in the COMPETITORS Law will allow the Treasury to unilaterally prohibit certain financial transactions *without* public participation. I submitted an amendment to fix this huge mistake. #cryptocurrency #blockchain https://t.co/S8Gi0AIz4l — Congressman Ted Budd (@RepTedBudd) January 27, 2022
“The Treasury should not have unilateral authority to make sweeping economic decisions without full due process rulemaking,” Budd said in a January 27 statement. “This draconian provision will not help America compete with China, it will use China’s autocratic scenario to stifle financial innovation in our own country.”
Related: The White House is reportedly preparing an executive order on cryptocurrencies
The bill will likely go to the Senate, where it could be amended differently from other US lawmakers. Once both houses approve an identical bill, President Joe Biden will be able to sign it.