US lawmakers request Justice Dept share CBDC assessment

The House members claimed the “appropriate place for the discussion” on legislation concerning a digital dollar would be in the U.S. legislative branch.

Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee have requested the Department of Justice provide its assessment and legislative proposals around a digital dollar within ten days.

In an Oct. 5 letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, 11 Republican lawmakers asked the Justice Department for a copy of its “assessment of whether legislative changes would be necessary to issue a CBDC,” as required by President Joe Biden’s executive order on digital assets from March. The House members claimed the “appropriate place for the discussion” on legislation concerning a central bank digital currency would be in the U.S. legislative branch rather than the federal executive department.

“The House Committee on Financial Services has spent considerable time and resources examining both the potential risks and benefits of a CBDC,” said the letter. “The Committee’s review has included analyzing whether the Federal Reserve has the authority to issue a CBDC without authorizing legislation. Committee Republicans emphasized in our CBDC principles that the Federal Reserve does not have the legal authority to issue a CBDC absent action from Congress.”

#NEW: @PatrickMcHenry, @RepFrenchHill, and members of Committee Republicans’ Digital Asset Working Group are demanding Attorney General Garland provide his assessment on the @federalreserve‘s authority to issue a #CBDC.

Read the letter

— Financial Services GOP (@FinancialCmte) October 5, 2022

The letter included signatures from ranking member Patrick McHenry, who recently made a virtual appearance at the Converge22 conference in San Francisco, and Representative Tom Emmer, who has criticized the Treasury Department’s sanctions of crypto mixer Tornado Cash. The lawmakers requested Garland respond by Oct. 15.

Related: US lawmaker lays out case for a digital dollar

On Sept. 16, the White House released its report on a comprehensive framework for cryptocurrencies in the United States, including exploring a CBDC. The Justice Department was tasked with reporting on potential threats due to illicit uses of digital assets, suggesting changes to policies and laws.

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