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US congressmen chide presidential advisers over crypto stances in economic report

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United States Congressmen Warren Davidson and Mike Flood have written a letter to the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) demanding an explanation for a chapter the agency prepared for the Economic Report of the President that expressed “a hostile view towards the digital asset ecosystem.” 

The report, presented to Congress is March, contained a chapter titled “The Reality of Crypto Assets” that claimed such assets “have brought none of the promised benefits.” The agency’s opinion marked a reversal of the position taken in the president’s “Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets,” the lawmakers claimed. They wrote:

“We are working to do our part in Congress to put forth a regulatory regime for digital assets that will allow this innovative ecosystem to thrive in the U.S. while enacting critical protections.”

“By taking such a hostile view towards the digital asset ecosystem, the Administration is only pushing digital asset innovation offshore,” they added, “drawing capital and economic growth away from the U.S. to the benefit of other countries.”

The letter raised questions, many of which immediately sprang to the minds of crypto supporters who objected to the claims made in the report. The writers asked how firms can comply with the law “when the laws that allegedly apply are conflicting, for example when a product is considered both a security and a commodity.”

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Related: ‘Keep Your Coins’ bill introduced to restrict government control of crypto

They further asked why the agency dismissed the role of Congress by saying much of the activity in the crypto space is covered by existing regulations and “Is it the CEA’s view that legislation from Congress will not mitigate potential risks and provide consumers with more protections than exist today?”

Finally, the lawmakers demand to know why the agency, which is part of the Executive Office of the President, claimed that the soon-to-launch FedNow instant payment system and central bank digital currency would be simpler and more effective than digital assets to upgrade the financial system.

The letter did not explain what purpose the requested information would be serve. The authors set a May 26 deadline for the answers.

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Davidson is a longtime crypto advocate who introduced legislation to remove Gary Gensler from the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission in April.

Flood introduced a bill as a Nebraska state legislator in 2021 that would allow financial institutions in the state to operate digital asset depository businesses. That bill was signed into law. On the federal level, Flood supported Rep. Tom Emmer’s “CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act” when he announced it in February.

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