Congressional Blockchain Caucus Collides With Midterms, Partisan Risk

The U.S. House of Representative’s Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a key vehicle for driving blockchain interest in Congress,  may be on the precipice of significant change with midterm elections looming next week.

Among the Caucus’ 39 members, seven are retiring (4 Democrats, 3 Republicans). The remaining 32 members are expected to win their elections. See below.

According to polls for the seven retiring seats, only one is expected to flip to another party: Tennessee’s 5th District where Andy Ogles (R) is expected to win the seat for Republicans replacing retiring Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper. Interest in blockchain tech – let alone the Caucus – by any of these newcomers is unknown at this time.

Caucus before-and-after totals look like this:

    • 117th Congress: 22 Republicans and 17 Democrats
    • 118th Congress: 19 Republicans and 13 Democrats

Next year’s membership seems poised to grow – if its leaders want it to – given Congressional momentum for blockchain legislation. Amidst this backdrop is the original purpose of many caucuses: bringing Members together across party lines on a particular area of interest. The Congressional Blockchain Caucus would appear to be no exception with an aim to both educate and promote to all Members.

Bipartisanship 2023

The anticipated “flippening” to a Republican majority in the House may be seen as a positive development by crypto legislation proponents given a perceived desire by Republicans to bring crypto into the financial system fold.

In fact, a surging majority could overwhelm the bipartisan nature of any blockchain-related (primarily crypto) legislation if handled indelicately.

In a divided government, bills from a Congress which may be dominated by one party, need the signature of a President from the other party. Overcoming vetoes is a hill no one wants to climb. Nor does waiting for the next general election (2024) and a possible majority across Congress and the Executive branch seem wise given the ebbs and flows of support from the U.S. electorate. Therefore, blockchain supporters in all probability will try to keep the legislative train on the bipartisan tracks.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R, MN), arguably the most powerful Republican in the Caucus and a co-chair, will likely continue to keep crypto legislation momentum moving forward and manage Republican inclusion in the bipartisan Blockchain Caucus. Emmer is also Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Additionally, co-chair David Schweikert (R, AZ) will provide guidance. Schweikert is an O.G. of crypto legislation and has authored multiple revisions of a House de minimis exemption bill.

Meanwhile, co-chairs Rep. Bill Foster (D, IL) and Darren Soto (D, FL) will likely be among Democrats to recruit for the smaller Blue team. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D, NY) could help with progressives. Torres has voiced support for cryptocurrencies and its potential for underserved communities which may resonate with other like-minded members of Congress.  He also signed on to criticism of the SEC and its Democratically-appointed Chair.

Caucus midterms

Without divining every candidate’s interest in blockchain technology across all House races, it’s hard to estimate how big or how small the interest in blockchain and the Caucus could become in the next Congress.  Notably, blockchain tech and cryptocurrency isn’t top of mind with many voters today in comparison to, say, inflation. Imagine if it was?

Here’s the latest prediction on current Caucus members’ chances for a midterm election victory courtesy of The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog.

Chance in 100 outcomes of winning according to 538
Congressional Blockchain Caucus Member
95 (click for 538’s prediction) Rep. Darren Soto (D, FL) – co-chair
99 Rep. Tom Emmer (R, MN) – co-chair
95 Rep. Bill Foster (D, IL) – co-chair
95 Rep. David Schweikert (R, AZ) – co-chair
100 Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D, MA)
99 Rep. Donald Beyer Jr. (D, VA)
97 Rep. Lauren Boebert (R, CO)
retiring Rep. Mo Brooks (R, AL)
retiring Rep. Tedd Budd (R, NC)
99 Rep. Kat Cammack (R, FL)
99 Rep. Troy A. Carter (D, LA)
retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D, TN)
99 Rep. John Curtis (R, UT)
99 Rep. Warren Davidson (R, OH)
99 Rep. Byron Donalds (R, FL)
100 Rep. Jeff Duncan (R, SC)
99 Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL)
retiring Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R, OH)
91 Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D, NJ)
99 Rep. Bill Huizenga (R, MI)
99 Rep. Ro Khanna (D, CA)
98 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D, IL)
99 Rep. John Larson (D, CT)
86 Rep. Mike Levin (D, CA)
99 Rep. Frank Lucas (R, OK)
99 Rep. Stephen Lynch (D, MA)
99 Rep. Nancy Mace (R, SC)
retiring Rep. Jerry McNerney (D, CA)
retiring Rep. Marie Newman (D, IL)
99 Rep. Ralph Norman (R, SC)
non-voting Del. Stacey Plaskett (D, VI)
91 Rep. Maria Salazar (R, FL)
99 Rep. Bryan Steil (R, WI)
99 Rep. Eric Swalwell (D, CA)
retiring Rep. Van Taylor (R, TX)
99 Rep. Glen “GT” Thompson (R, PA)
99 Rep. Ritchie Torres (D, NY)
99 Rep. Michael Waltz (R, FL)
99 Rep. Rob Wittman (R, VA)