US lawmakers attempt to block CBDCs through legislation

Several lawmakers don’t want the Federal Reserve issuing digital currency

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act was passed by the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) on Wednesday, preparing it for an upcoming vote on the House floor.

The legislation authored by Congressman Tom Emmer seeks to ban the Federal Reserve from issuing individuals a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Emmer previously referred to CBDCs as “financial surveillance tools.” Several Presidential candidates have opposed CBDCs for the same reasons, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“This is not just alarming​​—it’s downright un-American,” Emmer said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. He also highlighted other examples of “governments weaponizing their financial system against their citizens,” such as China using CBDCs to track citizens’ purchases and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau freezing protestors’ bank accounts in 2022.

Support for the bill was split between party lines. While 60 Republicans approved, not a single Democrat on the Committee voted in favor of the bill, with 20 voting against it.

Representative Brad Sherman called its supporters “hypocritical” for encouraging privately controlled cryptos over those issued by a central bank. “I’d be willing to support this bill if it also ended crypto,” he said in a speech opposing it.

Rep. Maxine Waters also denounced Republicans for taking a “deeply anti-innovation” position on technology that rivals like China embrace. Not implementing a CBDC could mean “the dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency. US citizens lose out on faster, cheaper, and simpler payments,” she argued.

Patrick McHenry, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, formerly accused Waters and Democrats of being influenced by the White House when they blocked previous stablecoin legislation.

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