Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, a crypto-friendly Republican from North Carolina, is apparently taking over as Speaker of the House temporarily after Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, was abruptly removed from office.
Following a power struggle between McCarthy and far-right conservatives, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the House voted on Tuesday to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.
A day before the vote, McHenry posted on X that “wasting time on a motion to vacate is a disservice to the American people.” McHenry had voted with McCarthy in that debate.
Patrick McHenry is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, which last summer advanced two legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies and another one that was more focused on stablecoins.
Furthermore, the congressman recently threatened to issue a subpoena against Gary Gensler, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), accusing him of failing to be open with Congress on his interactions with the defunct crypto exchange FTX and its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
“Either we find a path forward where the SEC recognises Congress as a co-equal branch of government and is responsive to our oversight duties, or my only option is to issue a subpoena,” McHenry said at a hearing on September 27.
Rep. Tom Emmer, the Republican House Majority Whip from Minnesota, has reportedly been mentioned as a potential House Speaker, and Gaetz reportedly claimed that Emmer would “make a great speaker.” Emmer has also been supportive of cryptocurrencies and critical of the SEC.
McHenry reiterated his commitment to passing stablecoin regulation in a Zoom conference on Friday. Stablecoin issuer Circle arranged this regulation just a couple of days before McHenry appointment as interim speaker.
In reference to the possibility of a government shutdown orchestrated by the Republican party, of which he is a member, McHenry stated, “Things are tricky right now”.
Fears of a government shutdown if Congress failed to enact funding legislation by October 1—when the last financing expired—rose as a result of Republicans in the House forcing a confrontation over federal spending.
This eventuality was narrowly avoided in the end. A last-minute agreement between the House and Senate secured funding through November 17 and prevented a government shutdown. Just before the deadline, President Joe Biden signed it into law.
How long Republicans will take to select a new leader is still unknown following Tuesday’s dramatic and unusual removal of McCarthy.
The outcome of the upcoming round of budget discussions in the House will determine whether or not Congress can continue to operate the federal government. A shutdownhe will maybe slow an already slow pace of digital asset policymaking in Washington.
Crypto community has already shown its concerns:
On Tuesday, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that McHenry, minutes after obtaining an interim speaker nomination, had ordered her to leave her office in the Capitol building.
She continues to work out of the Cannon House office complex.
“Going to reassign h-132 for speaker office use. Please vacate the space tomorrow,” the email reportedly said.
In a statement, Pelosi said she wasn’t in the city of Washington, DC, to swiftly relocate her possessions.