US House approves FIT21 crypto bill with bipartisan support

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A majority of United States House of Representatives members voted in favor of legislation to establish regulatory clarity over digital assets.

In a 279 to 136 vote on May 22, House lawmakers approved H.R.4763, or the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century (FIT21) Act. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill clarifies the roles the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have over digital assets. 71 Democrats joined with 208 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill.

“Unfortunately, our current regulatory framework is preventing digital assets’ innovation from reaching its full potential,” said Representative Patrick McHenry before the House vote. “The SEC and the CFTC are currently in a food fight for control of these asset classes.”

Vote on FIT21. Source: U.S. House of Representives

Representative Maxine Waters, also speaking before the floor vote, said she intended to oppose the legislation. She claimed the FIT21 bill would send cryptocurrencies to a “regulatory no man’s land,” adding that the language would allow traditional finance firms to operate without SEC oversight.

“This [bill] is perhaps the worst, most harmful proposal I have seen in a long time,” said Representative Waters. “This bill would deregulate crypto and certain traditional securities to the extent that I and other experts have expressed serious concerns about this bill causing a potential market crash and recession.”

Related: US lawmaker addresses House before FIT21 vote: Bill ‘will stop another FTX’

The House is still set to discuss and vote on H.R. 5403, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Anti-Surveillance State Act, which would prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a digital dollar through intermediaries. Democratic Party leadership reportedly said on May 21 that it was not in favor of its members voting to pass the anti-CBDC bill or the FIT21 bill, but it would not whip against the legislation.

Crypto-related legislation and the SEC’s pending decision on a spot Ether (ETH) exchange-traded fund comes as the United States moves deeper into an election year, with digital assets on many voters’ minds. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive candidates for the Democratic and Republican Parties in 2024, have agreed to two debates on June 27 and Sept. 10.

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