Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) previewed the lawmaker ire in store for U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler as Congress returns from its summer break, with Hagerty accusing the regulator of stomping on crypto innovation during a speech on Thursday.
He and other senators on the Senate Banking Committee will get their chance to question Gensler directly next week when he appears for a routine hearing on SEC oversight on Sept. 12. But that’s not enough for Hagerty, who told a Cato Institute audience that the Democrat-controlled panel should be scheduling more hearings to specifically examine what Gensler and SEC are doing to the U.S. crypto sector.
“It is a terrible environment,” said Hagerty, who pushed crypto legislation in 2022 to set up basic guardrails for stablecoins, though it never advanced. “For those companies who are trying to invest and expand, it's forcing them to look overseas to more favorable regulatory environments. That's not where we need to be right now.”
Hagerty said that Gensler’s adversarial relationship with crypto “is damaging the industry,” though he also criticized U.S. banking regulators for creating an atmosphere among banks that makes them wary of crypto connections.
He declined to guess which of the ongoing crypto legislative efforts are most likely to make headway, though he said Congress should go at it incrementally, biting off smaller pieces rather than a comprehensive approach. He said that’s what his two-page Stablecoin Transparency Act was trying to do, just setting up some simple rules more immediately.
The Senate Banking Committee – led by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) – stands as the fulcrum of future crypto legislation, and its senior Democrats have been relatively quiet on their intentions. While the House Financial Services Committee has advanced crypto bills to the floor in the other chamber, it’s unclear what Brown’s panel will do with any of it.
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