Jerome Powell, the Republican Federal Reserve Chair appointed during the Trump administration, appeared before the House Financial Services (HFS) Committee today for his semi-annual hearing, “The Federal Reserve’s Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report” a.k.a. the Humphrey-Hawkins report.
Although Powell’s prepared testimony was bereft of anything digital asset-related as was the Committee’s agenda for the hearing (see it), Chair Powell’s Q&A with members of Congress provided a taste of hot button digital asset issues for the Fed.
HFS Chair Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC) kicked things off right before Powell’s testimony saying before the full Committee that the stablecoin and market structure bills were on the HFS schedule for next month. Chair McHenry stated in the third person:
“The Chair would further announce to committee members that the Chair’s intention is that in the second week we return in July, we will have a markup, and that markup will include two important bills. One is giving digital assets a market structure and federal regulatory remit. And the second is a federal stablecoin regime. It is the intention of the Chair to have that as two pieces of committee markup in the second week when we return in July.”
After McHenry’s brief announcement, the hearing commenced.
Click below or scroll down for a selection of what Powell said about digital assets in answer to several Members of Congress during the Q&A portion of the hearing. Video is here.
(lightly edited for clarity)
Rep. Waters (D, CA): I’ve argued that we should allow states to be part of this process, but we must have a strong enforceable federal floor with the roll by the Federal Reserve to approve and provide oversight of payment stablecoins issued by non-banks in order to ensure that consumers are protected. Such a framework is similar to our dual-banking system and it would ensure that non-banks and banks are treated the same. We should also bear in mind that payments stablecoins are a new form of currency intended to allow individuals to pay for things with them. As such, do you agree that it is important for the Fed as our central bank to have a chance to approve or decline any state license non-bank entity before it starts issuing payments stablecoins nation-wide? Continue reading “Powell Says Stablecoins Are Money As McHenry Announces Markup For Digital Assets Legislation”