Press Releases

McHenry to Gensler: We Need to Nurture Innovation and Technology in This Country–Not Send it Overseas

Washington, October 5, 2021 -

Today the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler. Chair Gensler’s recent actions raise concern that he will run roughshod over appropriate process to implement Democrats’ agenda—which will harm everyday investors, weaken our capital markets, and put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage.
Ranking Member McHenry also highlighted his new bill, the Clarity for Digital Tokens Act, which ensures our regulatory framework embraces new technology and innovation by providing a “safe harbor” for startup digital asset projects, while maintaining important investor protections.
Watch Republican Leader Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.
Read Republican Leader McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Chair Gensler, it’s good to see you again. Last time you were here, the Senate had just confirmed you. And it made sense that you were reluctant to speak about the direction of the Commission’s agenda. 
“Now that you’ve had some time get to your sea legs, I’m looking forward to our discussion about your regulatory priorities. You have not been shy in the press, so I hope we can have a frank and transparent conversation here today.
“On digital assets—you have made a number of concerning and contradictory public statements regarding crypto assets and other innovative technology. 
“When you were here in May, you stated that there was a need for additional legislation to appropriately regulate digital asset exchanges. 
“Then, just a few weeks ago, when you testified before the Senate Banking Committee, you stated that there was a ‘great deal’ of clarity in the law.
“You implied that many digital asset exchanges are unregistered securities exchanges, and even threatened one digital asset exchange by name.
“So, which is it? Does the SEC want more legislative authority, or is it about to unleash a regulatory tsunami under existing laws?
“To be frank, I have strong concerns about how you will regulate in the digital asset space. I believe it is time for Congress to step up and provide clear guidelines that will not allow an SEC Chair to change the law by interview or a statement posted on the Commission’s website.
“That’s why, earlier today, I introduced the Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021. 
“We need to nurture innovation and technology in this country—not send it overseas. This bill, which borrows from the great work of SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce helps bring legal certainty to digital asset projects that they badly need when they launch.
“Two other points before my time runs out.
“First, much of your broader agenda appears to be no more investor-friendly than the bad bills the Majority continues to push in this Committee. 
“There is bipartisan concern that you will use ‘investor protection’ as a guise for limiting everyday investor choice—and run roughshod over appropriate process in implementing your agenda. 
“Along the same line, following ‘appropriate process’ doesn’t seem to be your strong suit. Your move to politicize an independent PCAOB by terminating then-Chair Duhnke has raised concerns about your commitment to transparency and process.
“Second—it’s a point you and I have spoken about—but I want to raise it here. I have sent you several letters that have received less than fulsome responses. 
“This is not acceptable. 
“Members of this committee rightly have concerns and questions about what your agency is doing and why it has undertaken certain actions. 
“The SEC needs to respond in a timely and substantive manner. I hope that with more time on the job, this problem will correct itself. Thank you for making it a priority.
“I yield back.”

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