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The Leader’s Floor Lookout: Week of May 20, 2024

Here’s what to watch for on the House Floor this week:
Preventing Illegal Aliens from Voting in U.S. Elections

On November 21, 2022, the D.C. Council voted to disregard federal law and enact a bill that allows noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote in D.C. local elections. The bill, the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act (D.C. Law 24-0242), disenfranchises American citizens and could have a ripple effect across other large U.S. cities. 

To add insult to injury, this legislation makes no exception for foreign nationals or diplomats voting in D.C. elections. This means that representatives from other countries, including agents of the Chinese Communist Party, can vote in D.C. elections, even though their interests are often separate or opposed to American interests.

This D.C. law is unjust and against federal law, minimizing the voice of American citizens by diluting their votes with votes from foreign diplomats and illegal immigrants. Even Democrats realize the absurdity of this law – D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser withheld her signature on the bill, expressing her opposition, and the Washington Post Editorial Board published an article on their stance against this legislation.

In February 2023, House Republicans, along with 42 Democrats, passed a resolution to overturn the D.C. Council’s bill to allow illegal immigrants to vote – H.J. Res. 24. Despite bipartisan support, Senate Democrats refused to take up the legislation and the law has gone into effect.

It’s common sense: Only American citizens should be able to vote in U.S. elections, as is dictated by federal law.

Rep. August Pfluger’s legislation, H.R. 192, repeals the D.C. Council’s Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022 and prevents individuals who are not United States citizens from voting in elections in the District of Columbia.

Once again, House Republicans are fighting to keep illegal immigrants and foreign diplomats out of U.S. elections.

Protecting Americans’ Financial Privacy in Digital Transactions

A CBDC, or central bank digital currency, is a sovereign digital currency issued and regulated by a government and recorded on a digital ledger controlled by that government – giving the government the ability to monitor any transactions and use the currency as a financial weapon to stifle political adversity. 

While decentralized digital currency like Bitcoin is outside the control of any one person, group, or entity, and engages in marketplace competition, a government-controlled CBDC, if it is not modeled to emulate cash, allows unelected bureaucrats to collect transaction data on and surveil citizens.

For example, in China, the Chinese Communist Party created a CBDC that tracks citizens’ digital transactions, and then uses that data to reward or punish them for their financial behavior through a social credit system. Additionally, in Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau froze bank accounts and blocked crypto donations to crack down on protesting truckers and their supporters in 2022.

Now, the Biden Administration has indicated its interest in creating a similar surveillance style CBDC, issuing an executive order prompting extensive CBDC research and development.

We cannot allow the Biden Administration to wreak havoc on Americans’ financial privacy and individual freedom by creating a CBDC under the complete control of the Administrative state, allowing them to track and collect Americans’ financial data, as well as potentially censor and oppress Americans based on that data. 

Rep. Tom Emmer’s legislation, H.R. 5403, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, blocks the Federal Reserve from directly or indirectly issuing a CBDC to any individual, prevents the Federal Reserve from using a CBDC to implement monetary policy, and requires Congress to authorize the issuance of any CBDC, protecting Americans’ financial privacy and freedom from government control. 

House Republicans are fighting to ensure any creation of a CBDC upholds American citizens’ values and rights, including financial privacy and individual sovereignty. 

Establishing a Clear Regulatory Framework for Digital Assets

As cryptocurrency and digital assets grow in popularity and potential to shape future internet technology and monetary policy, America’s lack of a clear regulatory framework is holding us back, stifling innovation, and putting American consumers at risk.

Without regulatory clarity, responsible actors who would innovate and grow new goods and services in this rising digital market are hindered and unprotected, while bad actors who attempt to use the lack of certainty in the new technology flourish – and confusion prevents the public from telling which is which. 

Meanwhile, regulators like the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) have taken an enforce-first, clarify-later approach to digital asset regulation that leaves developers, brokers, dealers, and consumers in the dark, while expanding their own power and jurisdiction at will and acting without direction from Congress. 

It is vital Congress establish a clear regulatory framework for digital assets to strengthen consumer protections that aren’t in place today, promote innovation, increase transparency in both federal requirements and market participants, and draw the line between SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdictions.

House Republicans are bringing legislation that would allow digital assets and financial innovation to thrive under regulatory certainty and consumer protections in the digital marketplace – ensuring the United States remains a global leader in the finance sector now and in the future.

H.R. 4763, the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson, establishes a clear regulatory framework for digital assets, clarifies the CFTC’s jurisdiction over digital commodities and the SEC’s jurisdiction over digital assets offered as part of an investment contract, and implements strong consumer protections.

As other countries rush to build frameworks for digital assets and get a leg up in the race to innovate and develop in the digital asset sector, the United States must act to ensure we are not left in the past. This bill sets our country up for future success and global leadership in the digital market.