FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2023
William Pierre-Louis, Jr.
Dangerous Crypto and Accountability Bills Clear Congressional Committees Despite Major Objections from Consumer Advocacy Groups, Labor Unions and More
Washington, DC – House Financial Services Committee passed a series of bills this week that create light-touch rules for cryptocurrencies, limit investors’ and workers’ ability to hold corporations accountable, and hamper regulators’ ability to meaningfully participate in international governing bodies that set global standards for our financial system. These bills undermine our financial system and further hamper regulators from addressing financial instability.
The digital assets bills H.R. 4763, the so-called ‘crypto market structure’ bill, and H.R. 4766, The Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act of 2023, purport to create new regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins– digital assets mostly used to fuel speculative crypto investing. Numerous consumer advocates fear these bills fail to adequately protect consumers, expose stablecoins issuers and financial markets to major risks, and make it easier for Big Tech firms to issue their own form of ‘private money’- subjecting users to privacy intrusions and other potential financial abuses.
“Despite what the bills’ proponents claim, these bills were largely written by and for the crypto industry, and it shows,” said Mark Hays, Senior Policy Analyst for Americans for Financial Reform and Demand Progress. “Rather than raise the bar and ensure crypto investors and consumers have the same protections as other investors and consumers, these bills fail to meet those standards, could expose people to more risk, and would allow many crypto firms to continue with risky business as usual.”
In addition to the digital assets bills, which unfortunately gained bipartisan support, the Committee voted along party lines to pass several harmful anti-ESG bills, including H.R. 4790, the Guiding Uniform and Responsible Disclosure Requirements and Information Limits (GUARDRAIL) Act, H.R. 4767, the Protecting Americans’ Retirement Savings from Politics Act, and H.R. 4655, the Businesses Over Activists Act, and H.R. 4823, the American Financial Institution Regulator Sovereignty and Transparency Act.
These bills undermine regulations that would equip investors with more information to make better investment decisions; insulate the management of public companies from investor input and accountability; and hamstring the ability of federal banking regulators to respond effectively to micro- and macro-prudential risks to the financial system, including climate-related financial risks.
“These bills target the shareholder proposal process, proxy advisory firms, and asset managers to rig our corporate governance system in favor of management and against shareholders — many of whom are workers saving for retirement — who are pushing the companies they’re invested in to be accountable to their interests as long-term investors,” said Natalia Renta, senior policy counsel for corporate governance and power at Americans for Financial Reform.
The bills in this markup again represent a regression in the path to building a more resilient financial system for consumers and investors. They either dismiss proven consumer safeguards or limit future retirees from engaging with the companies they are investing in. AFR continues to oppose these bills and bills that seek to codify these harmful measures.
Discover AFR’s stance on the marked-up anti-ESG bills, showcased through our opposition letter and a coalition letter submitted ahead of the House Financial Services Committee’s anti-ESG hearing on July 12, 2023. Gain comprehensive insights into AFR and Demand Progress’ opposition to the marked-up crypto bills, as evidenced by our crypto markets, stablecoin opposition letters, alongside letters of opposition from other organizations. Stay informed about our stance on these critical issues!