U.S. House panel to vote on cryptocurrency bill in coming weeks

Patrick McHenry with cryptocurrency Bitcoin bill background.

A key House Republican lawmaker said Tuesday that he intends to hold a committee vote on a comprehensive bill to establish a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency products in the coming weeks.

Representative Patrick McHenry, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he expects to put a bill forward for the panel to consider after lawmakers return to work on July 11.

“I intend for this committee to mark up some form of this legislation when we return from the July 4 recess,” he said at a hearing Tuesday.

McHenry has been leading an effort by some Republicans in Congress to pass a bill establishing clear rules for the cryptocurrency industry. A discussion draft put forward earlier this month by McHenry and others would clarify responsibilities for overseeing crypto products by regulators, and would give a pathway for crypto companies and exchanges to register with those agencies.

Cryptocurrency firms have been clamoring for such clarity from Congress, particularly as the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken a harder line, arguing most major crypto products are securities that must be registered and suing major exchanges.

But the prospects for the draft measure remain unclear. Democrats on the panel say they are considering the measure but have concerns. Representative Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the committee, said Tuesday she worried that allowing crypto exchanges to receive provisional registration could enable bad actors.

And in the Senate, which must also pass any crypto legislation, key lawmakers like Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren have expressed even more skepticism about crypto products.