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ICYMI: Emmer defends GOP push to block a federal digital dollar

WASHINGTON – Majority Whip Tom Emmer today joined IntraFi’s Banking with Interest podcast to discuss his flagship legislation prohibiting the Federal Reserve from creating a surveillance-style central bank digital currency (CBDC). Whip Emmer also criticized the Biden administration for moving forward on CBDC research and development without Congressional approval as promised.

In case you missed it…

Emmer defends GOP push to block a digital dollar
Brendan Pedersen
March 13, 2024

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer took a shot at the Federal Reserve on crypto policy in a podcast episode published this morning.

The Minnesota Republican argued that Congress should preemptively block the federal government from creating a central bank digital currency, better known as a digital dollar.

Speaking on IntraFi’s Banking with Interest podcast, Emmer defended a recently renewed push from congressional Republicans to ban the Federal Reserve from creating a digital currency.

Officials including Chair Jay Powell have said repeatedly that the U.S. central bank would wait for congressional authorization. Emmer’s not buying it, telling IntraFi’s Rob Blackwell:

“There was a presentation at the beginning of this Congress by the Fed for staff where they showed what their primary responsibilities were, and I think there were four or five of them. Number five was a central bank digital currency. If you don’t have authority without congressional action, why are you already moving forward?”

Emmer said he was worried about a gap between Powell’s public statements and signs that parts of the Fed are preparing for a digital dollar.

“The chair is telling us he needs congressional approval and yet the machine of the Fed is moving forward with it. That’s incredibly concerning and very disturbing,” Emmer said.

Emmer is the crypto industry’s most senior advocate in Congress. Republican crypto backers have claimed that a digital dollar would give unprecedented surveillance powers to the U.S. government.

But not everyone agrees a digital dollar has to be a privacy nightmare. Policymakers and academics have said it could be built with key privacy protections for individual users.

And both crypto and banking interests have money to lose if a central bank digital currency is ever a reality. A digital dollar would likely obviate the case for key crypto innovations — like instant payments between users — while banks would need to compete with the Federal Reserve for commercial and retail deposits.

Don’t lose track of those business incentives.