Pro-crypto lawmaker stays interim US House Speaker as front-runner loses first round of voting
Representative Patrick McHenry, chair of the United States House Financial Services Committee and a crypto proponent in Congress, is still temporarily in the third most powerful role in government after one of his Republican colleagues failed to secure enough votes.
In a vote conducted with members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 17, no candidate for Speaker won a majority of votes needed to secure the position. Representative Jim Jordan, the Republican Party’s nominee for Speaker, obtained 200 votes — short of the 217 needed to win.
All 212 Democratic members of the House voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, with other votes by Republican lawmakers going to Representatives Steve Scalise, Kevin McCarthy, Tom Emmer, Tom Cole, Thomas Massie and Mike Garcia, as well as former New York Representative Lee Zeldin. According to House rules, a Speaker need not be a member of Congress.
McHenry, who has been serving as interim Speaker since Republican members voted to oust McCarthy on Oct. 4, currently lacks the authority to move legislation forward in the House, with the exception of the Speaker vote. For the first time in U.S. history, half of the legislative branch of the federal government was largely paralyzed, making it impossible to move forward with crypto-related bills.
Many pro-crypto users on social media have called on lawmakers to make McHenry the next Speaker — an outcome that would also require nearly all Republicans in the House to unite behind one candidate. Behind U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the Speaker of the House is second in the country’s presidential line of succession. However, some experts have reportedly said the line of succession does not apply to an interim Speaker like McHenry.
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At the time of publication, it was unclear when McHenry planned to call for a second vote. Many have criticized Jordan for repeating falsehoods surrounding the results of the 2020 presidential election in favor of former President Donald Trump, but he remains the leading candidate, with a Republican majority in the House and Democrats united behind Jeffries.
McHenry led the House Financial Services Committee as lawmakers voted in favor of crypto bills, including the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, the Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act and the Keep Your Coins Act. The pieces of legislation are expected to head to the House floor for a full vote, but the current situation with the Speaker makes that unlikely in the near future.
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