A pro-crypto U.S. lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prevent the SEC from using its budget to crack down on crypto companies until Congress clarifies the rules for the industry. Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, proposed the bill as an amendment to the House GOP spending plan for 2024. The bill, called the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, or HR 4664, was passed by a voice vote on Wednesday.
Emmer’s amendment states that the SEC cannot use any funds for enforcement actions related to digital asset transactions until Congress passes legislation that authorizes the SEC to regulate this asset class. Emmer said that his amendment aims to stop the SEC Chair Gary Gensler from abusing his power and pursuing a political agenda that would drive the crypto industry offshore. Emmer accused Gensler of ignoring the will of Congress and the American people by adopting a “regulation by enforcement” approach that stifles innovation and harms investors.
Emmer said that Gensler’s salary, which is currently $221,400 per year, should be reduced to one dollar until he provides clarity on crypto regulation. He added that Gensler’s actions have created uncertainty and confusion in the crypto market, and that he should respect the existing laws and frameworks that govern digital assets.
The bill is unlikely to pass, as it would need the approval of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the signature of President Joe Biden. However, it reflects the growing frustration and discontent among some lawmakers and industry players with the SEC’s handling of crypto-related issues.
Gensler, who took office in April 2021, has been vocal about the need for more regulation and oversight of the crypto space, especially in areas such as stablecoins, decentralized finance (DeFi), and initial coin offerings (ICOs). He has also repeatedly stated that most cryptocurrencies are securities and fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction, a view that is disputed by many in the crypto community.
Gensler has also been involved in a high-profile legal battle with Ripple, the company behind the XRP cryptocurrency, which the SEC sued in December 2020 for allegedly conducting an unregistered securities offering. The case is still ongoing and has attracted a lot of attention and support from the XRP community and other crypto advocates.