Lawmaker Tom Emmer Throws Hat in Ring for House Speaker Role

The House hasn't had a speaker since the beginning of October, threatening any further advancement of crypto bills sitting before the legislative body.

AccessTimeIconOct 23, 2023 at 8:20 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 23, 2023 at 4:18 p.m. UTC

Congressman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who's sponsored a number of crypto-related bills over the past few years and is a co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, said Saturday he's making a bid for the vacant Speaker of the House position.

The Speaker of the House runs the House of Representatives, scheduling votes and moving legislation. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took on the role earlier this year, but was ousted earlier this month. Democrat Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the previous Speaker, until her party lost the majority in the 2022 election.

An individual familiar with the matter told CoinDesk that Emmer, who's currently the majority whip – meaning he's the second-highest ranking member of the House Republican caucus – was making calls for the Speaker on Friday.

Emmer has sponsored legislation that would create crypto-specific definitions for how tokens might fit into existing securities frameworks, as well as to block the issuance of a central bank digital currency. He's signed onto letters and other initiatives similarly pushing clarity for the crypto industry.

The role has been vacant for over two weeks, after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) lost a motion to vacate sponsored by a member of his own party, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

Two candidates have already failed to secure enough votes to win the speakership – Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Jordan's bid ended earlier Friday after he lost a third vote in the House (and then a secret caucus vote). A handful of other lawmakers are also running for the position, though the House won't vote on any other candidates until next week.

Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee and Speaker Pro Tempore after McCarthy's ouster, set a tentative Tuesday morning vote. Republican candidates have to confirm their bids by Sunday, and will meet Monday to present their respective cases.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.