A group of Republicans within the U.S. House of Representatives orchestrated the ousting of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, marking the first-ever removal of a House Speaker in U.S. history. McCarthy’s tenure, which began in January 2023, was characterized by division within the Republican Party and accusations of ineffectiveness.
Following McCarthy’s removal, the cryptocurrency-friendly United States Representative Patrick McHenry stepped into the spotlight, being appointed as the interim House Speaker. McHenry’s ascendancy, though temporary, carries significant implications for the cryptocurrency sector.
Patrick McHenry Assumes Interim House Speaker Role: A Win for Digital Assets
McHenry’s role as Speaker grants him influence over the House’s legislative agenda, committee assignments, and the scheduling of bills for debate and voting, making it one of the most influential positions in the U.S. government, trailing only the president and vice president. This shift could signify a small victory for the digital asset sector, as McHenry has been a vocal challenger of the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) regulation-by-enforcement approach to cryptocurrencies.
Patrick McHenry’s clashes with the SEC have been well documented. He has accused SEC Chair Gary Gensler of attempting to stifle the digital asset ecosystem and criticized the lack of transparency regarding the SEC’s ties to the defunct FTX exchange and its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
Notably, in July 2023, the US House Financial Services Committee, headed by McHenry, advanced a bipartisan bill that aimed to develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The bill would define when a cryptocurrency is a security or a commodity and expand the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s oversight of the crypto industry while clarifying the Securities and Exchange Commission’s jurisdiction.
While McHenry’s appointment marks a notable development, it may be short-lived, as an official vote for a new House Speaker is scheduled for October 11. Speculation abounds regarding potential successors, including Representative Tom Emmer, known for proposing the ‘Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,’ and even former President Donald Trump.
However, none of these figures have publicly expressed interest in the position, while McCarthy has confirmed he will not seek re-election as House Speaker.