CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act

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September 20, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Financial Services Committee considered Majority Whip Emmer’s (MN-06) CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act. The bill was passed out of the Committee and reported favorably to the House floor during the markup session, an important step toward passing this legislation through Congress.

Transcript of Remarks:
Thank you, Chairman McHenry. I’m extremely proud to have this legislation, that frankly, I have been working on for three years at least, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, included in your markup today. It’s the first anti-central bank digital currency legislative effort introduced in the United States and for the past two Congresses, we’ve worked with my colleagues and with stakeholder groups to update, improve, and grow support for this bill. Today, this bill has the support of 60 Members of Congress and groups ranging from the Independent Community Bankers Association and American Bankers Association to Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and the Blockchain Association. We’ve come a long way.

This bill is simple: It halts the efforts of this Administrative State under President Biden from issuing a financial surveillance tool that will undermine the American way of life.

Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, a central bank digital currency is a digital form of sovereign currency that is designed and issued by a government and transacts on a digital ledger that is controlled by that government. In short, a central bank digital currency is government-controlled programmable money that, if not designed to emulate cash, could give the federal government the ability to surveil and restrict Americans' transactions.

This is not just alarming – it’s downright un-American. We’ve already seen examples of governments weaponizing their financial system against their citizens.

In China, the Communist Party is using a central bank digital currency to track the spending habits of its citizens. The data is being used to create a social credit system that rewards or punishes people based on their behavior.

Closer to home in the Western Hemisphere, in Canada, the Trudeau Administration froze the bank accounts of individuals involved in the 2022 trucker protests. That might work in Canada, that doesn’t work here.

This appetite for financial surveillance may be gaining a stronghold, unfortunately, right here at home. The White House issued an Executive Order placing urgency on central bank digital currency research and development, and the agency reports to that executive order have made it clear that the Biden Administration is not only itching to create a CBDC, but they are willing to trade American’s right to financial privacy for a surveillance-style central bank digital currency.

We’re not going to let this happen. My bill ensures the United States digital currency policy is in the hands of the American people – not the Administrative State – so that it reflects our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competitiveness.

American values. American values. This is what the future global digital economy needs. If not open, permissionless, and private – just like cash – a central bank digital currency is nothing more than a CCP-style surveillance tool that can be weaponized to oppress the American way of life.

If China embraces it, you know it’s something worth standing against in this country.

I’d like to welcome all of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to support this bill, which protects innovation and defends against an ever-expanding government surveillance state. Thank you again, Chairman McHenry and Congressman Hill for working with me on this legislation.

And I yield back the balance of my time.

Background:
Since the 117th Congress, Whip Emmer has been leading the fight against any Federal Reserve-issued central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act prevents the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC directly to individuals, ensuring the Fed cannot mobilize into a retail bank able to collect personal financial information on Americans. It prohibits the Federal Reserve from indirectly issuing a CBDC to individuals through an intermediary, preventing the Federal Reserve from launching a retail CBDC via our two-tier financial system. Furthermore, the legislation makes it clear that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury lack the authority to issue a CBDC without Congressional authorization. The legislation prohibits the Federal Reserve from using any CBDC to implement monetary policy, ensuring the Federal Reserve cannot use a CBDC as a tool to control the American economy. Finally, the legislation aims to protect innovation and the development of any future digital cash that maintains the privacy protections of cash.

The bill is now co-sponsored by 60 of Whip Emmer’s Republican colleagues, including Members of the Financial Services Committee, Representatives French Hill (AR-02), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Byron Donalds (FL-19), Pete Sessions (TX-32), Young Kim (CA-40), William Timmons (SC-04), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Bryan Steil (WI-01), Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Mike Flood (NE-01), Bill Posey (FL-08), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Andy Ogles (TN-05), Erin Houchin (IN-09), Andy Barr (KY-06), Roger Williams (TX-25), Ann Wagner (MO-02) and Bill Huizenga (MI-04).

You can read the bill in its entirety, here.

 
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