North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry, a strong supporter of cryptocurrency in Congress and the chair of the United States House Financial Services Committee, finds himself in a temporary position of power after his Republican colleague failed to secure enough votes. During a recent vote conducted with members of the U.S. House of Representatives, no candidate for Speaker received the majority of votes required to secure the position. Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the Republican Party’s nominee for Speaker, fell short of the 217 votes needed to win.
While all 212 Democratic members of the House voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Republican lawmakers cast their votes for Representatives Steve Scalise, Kevin McCarthy, Tom Emmer, Tom Cole, Thomas Massie, Mike Garcia, and former New York Rep. Lee Zeldin. It is important to note that, according to House rules, the Speaker does not have to be a member of Congress.
Since the Republican members voted to oust McCarthy on October 4, Rep. McHenry has been serving as the interim Speaker. However, his authority is limited to matters related to the Speaker vote, and he lacks the power to move legislation forward in the House. This unprecedented situation has left half of the legislative branch of the federal government largely paralyzed, preventing progress on crypto-related bills.
Many crypto advocates on social media have called for McHenry to become the next Speaker, although such an outcome would require strong unity among Republicans in the House. As the Speaker of the House is second in line for presidential succession after the U.S. President and Vice President, this position holds significant influence and responsibility. However, it should be noted that some experts have stated that the line of succession may not apply to an interim Speaker like McHenry.
It remains unclear when McHenry plans to call for a second vote. Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, despite facing criticism for spreading falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election, remains the leading candidate with a Republican majority in the House and Democrats united behind Jeffries.
During his tenure as chair of the House Financial Services Committee, McHenry played a pivotal role in advancing crypto-related legislation. Lawmakers voted in favor of bills such as 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. These bills are expected to move to the House floor for a full vote in the future, but the current situation with the Speaker makes this unlikely in the near future.
Rep. Patrick McHenry’s temporary position of power has brought attention to the importance of crypto legislation and the need for a resolution to the Speaker vacancy. The outcome of the next Speaker vote will not only impact the legislative process but also have implications for the future of cryptocurrencies in the United States. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold and whether McHenry’s pro-crypto stance will influence the outcome.