The United States government is facing the possibility of a shutdown within the next seven days. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is grappling with political pressure from members of his own party on how to handle spending plans, which could have a negative impact on the progress of crypto bills awaiting a vote.
In July, the House Financial Services Committee made a significant move by voting in favor of several crypto-focused bills. These bills include the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT), the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, the Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act, and the Keep Your Coins Act. This marked an important step forward in the committee’s consideration of cryptocurrency legislation and could potentially lead to a House floor vote in the current session of Congress.
However, if a government shutdown occurs, it would halt the progress of these bills and any other legislative efforts until the issue of funding the government for the next fiscal year is resolved. Shutdowns have occurred in the past, but the reasons for them seem to have shifted from public concerns over funding to political maneuvering.
Ron Hammond, the Blockchain Association’s director of government relations, expressed concern about the potential impact of a shutdown on crypto legislation. He stated that the longer the shutdown continues, the more these important bills, including the FIT/market structure and stablecoins, would be delayed.
Hammond added that some of the bills have bipartisan support and are likely to pass in floor votes. However, he noted that there are political obstacles that could derail their progress, such as the differing approaches of the major parties to stablecoin legislation.
Lawmakers have until September 30 to reach an agreement on the spending bills before the start of the next fiscal year. If a shutdown occurs, federal agencies considered “non-essential” would be effectively paralyzed. This would include agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which play crucial roles in overseeing digital assets.
As of September 25, Speaker McCarthy was reportedly planning to introduce spending bills that would include restrictions on abortion access, funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and other initiatives favored by far-right members of the Republican Party but unlikely to be approved by Democrats. The House of Representatives will convene on September 26 to address the issue, while the Senate is set to consider its own stopgap funding measure.
The potential shutdown raises concerns about the future of crypto legislation and the overall development of the cryptocurrency industry in the United States. It highlights the challenges faced by lawmakers in advancing this rapidly evolving sector amidst broader political disagreements.