Democratic House of Representatives member Ritchie Torres criticized the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and advocated for new laws on July 28.
Torres told Unchained podcast host Laura Shin:
“The modus operandi of the SEC under [Chair] Gary Gensler has been regulation by enforcement … he has taken what I consider to be arbitrary and capricious actions against crypto innovators.”
Torres added that, rather than focusing on bad actors in the crypto space, Gary Gensler’s SEC has “declared war on the whole industry.”
Torres made these statements while voicing his support for a recently advanced market structure bill, the Financial Innovation and Technology (FIT) for the 21st Century Act.
As explained by Torres, that act would define which crypto assets are under the purview of the SEC, which would have jurisdiction over an asset until it is demonstrated the asset is sufficiently decentralized. The crypto asset would then be considered a commodity and enter the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
On July 26, the House Financial Services Committee passed the FIT Act, with Torres being among the lawmakers who voted in favor.
Torres also supports stablecoins
Torres said that he supports a second bill that would set out regulations for stablecoins and ensure those assets are fully reserved. He also called stablecoins “the clearest usage case of crypto” and said he supports giving stablecoin issuers a choice between federal and state regulations such as New York’s Bitlicense.
Despite Torres’ endorsement, the relevant stablecoin bill recently failed to reach a bipartisan deal, according to reports from Reuters on July 27.
Torres also suggested that both bills have a promising future. The market structure passed with six Democratic votes, and Torres suggested that he expects the stablecoin bill will receive even more than six Democratic votes. However, he said that a lack of support from the ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters could halt the bill’s progress.
Addressing arguments that Democratic party members are largely opposed to crypto development, Torres noted that many recent pieces of cryptocurrency legislation have received bipartisan support.
He said that he believes younger lawmakers are more open to crypto, acknowledged that Republicans are often open to crypto, and suggested that trend could be due to Republican Party’s more pro-business stance generally.
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