Washington, D.C. – This week, Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act to halt efforts of unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that strips Americans of their right to financial privacy.
The bill also holds the Federal Reserve’s CBDC research and development programs accountable to the American people. The bill was co-sponsored by Republican colleagues Representatives French Hill (AR-02), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Mike Flood (NE-01), Byron Donalds (FL-19), Pete Sessions (TX-32), Andy Biggs (AR-05), Young Kim (CA-40), Ralph Norman (SC-05) and Barry Loudermilk (GA-11).
“Any digital version of the dollar must uphold our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty and free market competitiveness,” Emmer said. “Anything less opens the door to the development of a dangerous surveillance tool.”
“After all, America remains a technological leader not because we force innovations to adopt our values under regulatory duress, but because we allow technology that holds these values at their core to flourish,” concluded Emmer.
Rep. Hill said, “As Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion, it is my top priority to protect people’s privacy and their data. When it comes to consideration and design of any possible U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the federal government cannot and does not have the authority to issue a CBDC directly to individuals without explicit Congressional approval. I am proud to co-sponsor the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, led by my colleague, Whip Emmer, which will protect the financial privacy of individuals, their civil liberties, and stop efforts of federal overreach to surveil Americans.”
“The Fed must focus on its dual mandate rather than eradicating financial autonomy. A retail CBDC would essentially allow the government to mediate all transactions, which would mirror what we see in China. It’s vital to ensure this does not happen here,” said Rep. Davidson.
Rep. Flood said, “In a digital age, cryptocurrency represents new economic opportunities for America – but it’s critical for private sector innovators to take the lead. The American dollar has long been a symbol of prosperity and freedom, and our digital currencies should be the same. The Chinese Communist Party’s move to use government-run digital currency to impose further control on its people and its economy is a cautionary tale that America must avoid. The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act is a key step towards ensuring that Americans maintain their financial freedom by prohibiting a centrally controlled digital currency as our economy continues to innovate in the area of digital assets.”
Rep. Donalds said, “As the Federal Reserve continues its study of central bank digital currencies, one thing has become clear – CBDCs pose a clear threat to Americans’ financial independence. Rather than following the lead of oppressive regimes like China and Russia, we should dramatically decrease the federal government’s involvement in personal finances and look to the free market to guide the way regarding innovation. That’s why I’m proud to support Congressman Emmer’s CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act which prevents the issuance of a retail CBDC and ensures the Fed stays within its statutory bounds.”
“The U.S. Government cannot move to issue a digital dollar without an Act of Congress, and before that happens, Congress must first be completely certain a digital dollar can never be used as a surveillance tool. That’s why I’m an original co-sponsor of Whip Emmer’s bill,” said Congressman Pete Sessions. “I am also very concerned that a digital dollar would fundamentally reshape the banking industry to the detriment of consumers and the economy, therefore Congress must fully consider the negative and unintended consequences that could result from issuing a digital dollar, which I look forward to working on with Whip Emmer together on these very important issues in the House Financial Services Committee.”
“I applaud Congressman Emmer’s latest efforts to protect the financial privacy and currency of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Andy Biggs. “A government run digital currency presents a real threat to Americans’ freedom to use their hard-earned money, and fundamentally, to the value of that money – Emmer’s bill ends this threat before it can begin.
“From Big Tech censorship to COVID mandates to now regulating digital currencies, unelected bureaucrats continue to push our nation toward an authoritarian state. This rogue behavior must stop and this legislation gets us closer to achieving that,” Biggs concluded.
“One of my primary concerns with the federal government is its constant push to expand the way it invades and collects information on the American people; and the Federal Reserve’s push to develop a central bank digital currency would allow the Fed to track an individual’s transactions indefinitely. Given the economic uncertainty many Americans are facing, the Federal Reserve should be focused on its core mission of keeping prices stable and ensuring maximum employment, not exploring digital currencies, without congressional input or approval,” said Rep. Loudermilk.
"Innovation is the key to unlocking America's economic future," said Rep. Kim. "I'm proud to join Whip Emmer to introduce the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act to prohibit the Federal Reserve from offering central bank digital currency directly to individuals, allowing the federal government to monitor everyday financial transactions. I'll keep working to promote financial freedom and economic empowerment for all Americans."
Rep. Norman said, “We have enough problems with abusive government surveillance without the Federal Reserve becoming an instrument to possibly monitor and scrutinize individual account holders and their transactions. CBDC would create significant privacy concerns for Americans, so I want to thank Rep. Emmer for his leadership on this important legislation.”
Specifically, the legislation prohibits the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC directly to an individual, mobilizing itself into a retail bank able to collect personal information on all Americans. The bill also bars the Federal Reserve from using any CBDC to implement monetary policy, ensuring the Federal Reserve cannot use a CBDC as a tool to control the economy. Additionally, it requires that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors consult each Federal Reserve bank about the development of a CBDC study or pilot program and issue a quarterly report to Congress on their progress and findings. The federal government must be held accountable to the American people.
Emmer has been a longtime advocate that any Fed-issued digital dollar (central bank digital currency) remain open, permissionless and private. The CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act expands upon Emmer’s bill from the 117th Congress, which would have also prohibited the Fed’s direct issuance of a CBDC to individuals. More information about that bill is available here.
Additionally, in December, Emmer led a letter with House Financial Service Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) seeking transparency from the Boston Fed on Project Hamilton on the private sector’s role in the project. Project Hamilton is an initiative between the Boston Fed and MIT to research the potential development of a U.S. CBDC and the private sector's role must be transparent. No government body should be in the business of picking winners and losers in private industry. Additional information about this effort can be found here.
Text of the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act is available in full here.