On Monday, Republican House Representative Tom Emmer said his bill titled ‘CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act’ has grown in popularity among policymakers, including those from the Democratic Party, although he did not name them.
Emmer’s bill, which was introduced to the House in February, seeks to block the United States central bank from issuing a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) directly to citizens. The bill had only 9 co-sponsors during its early stages, but that figure has grown to 23.
Note that the 23 policymakers who have come out to support the bill publicly are all Republicans. Emmer said crypto-friendly Democrats that would likely vote in favor of his bill are afraid to go public now because it would appear as if they are fighting against the agendas of the current administration.
CBDCs operate like stablecoins in the sense that both are pegged to a fiat currency of a particular country, such as USD. The difference is that while stablecoins are issued and managed by private companies, CBDCs can only be issued and maintained by central banks.
Why Emmer is Opposing CBDC
A section of lawmakers perceives a US CBDC as a tool that could promote financial inclusion, while Emmer, along with the supporters of his bill, criticises the technology, arguing that the government will use it to monitor Americans.
Emmer claims that if the government uses a CBDC to track the spending habits of US residents, then it will be violating privacy rights. In March, the central bank’s Vice Chair for Supervision, Michael Barr, admitted that a CBDC must provide privacy like bank deposits.
Emmer said last week that if a US CBDC adheres to the principles of Web3, that is, it’s permission and open, then the Republicans will be willing to hear what the government has to say regarding its plans for a Central Bank Digital Currency.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has constantly said it will only issue a CBDC with the approval of Congress.
Other Politicians Opposing a US CBDC
Emmer is not the only Republican that has publicly opposed CBDC plans. In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduced legislation that would see a Fed-issued CBDC banned from that State. He argued that such currency would only be used to surveil and control Americans.
Last week, while speaking at a press conference, DeSantis claimed that President Joe Biden’s administration is trying to introduce CBDC in order to push out cryptocurrencies because it has failed to control them.
Democratic Party member Robert Kennedy Jr also seems to be against a US CBDC based on his last month’s tweet. The 2024 presidential aspirant accused the Federal Reserve of planning to release a CBDC through the institution’s new payment platform called FedNow. The central bank, however, clarified a few days later that its payment app didn’t include a CBDC.
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