US lawmakers discuss digital assets, and the House gets a new speaker

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US lawmakers discuss digital assets, and the House gets a new speaker
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Members of the United States House of Representatives have chosen Mike Johnson to be the body’s next speaker — the second in line to the U.S. presidency and a very powerful figure in Congress. 

In an Oct. 25 vote, all 220 Republicans present in the House voted for Johnson, while 209 Democrats cast ballots for Representative Hakeem Jeffries. The vote marked the first time in more than three weeks that the government body had clearly defined leadership. Representative Patrick McHenry had been acting as temporary speaker since Oct. 3 following a vote casting out former speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Unlike other candidates considered for speaker, Representative Johnson’s views on crypto are largely unknown. Many in the space had been hopeful that Representative Tom Emmer — a local advocate for digital assets in Congress — would win the gavel. However, his campaign lasted only a few hours following a statement from former U.S. President Donald Trump urging hardline Republicans not to support him.

Related: US Congress remains legislatively paralyzed on crypto bills without a House speaker

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While McHenry was likely preoccupied with preparing for the House vote, Financial Services Committee Vice Chair French Hill led a subcommittee hearing on “Modernizing Financial Services Through Innovation and Competition.” The hearing focused on discussions around crypto-related legislation, including the Financial Services Innovation Act and Examining Consumer Choice in Digital Payments Act.

With the swearing-in of Speaker Johnson, the House of Representatives can once again bring legislation to the floor for votes. Lawmakers previously passed bills out of committee, including the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, the Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act and the Keep Your Coins Act. However, the House may need to move on a new spending bill before Nov. 17 to address a potential government shutdown.

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