In a surprising turn of events, crypto-friendly Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, who had secured the nomination for the U.S. House Speaker position on Tuesday morning, made the unexpected decision to withdraw from the race just hours later.
Emmer had emerged as the top candidate on Tuesday, following a competitive field that included eight other hopefuls, such as Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, who had announced their bids over the weekend. However, news reports confirmed that Emmer had stepped back from the race by Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, House Republicans conducted multiple rounds of voting, ultimately pushing Emmer forward as a strong contender. His candidacy for Speaker followed unsuccessful attempts from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, both of whom had vied for the position in recent weeks but failed to secure the necessary votes.
Tom Emmer, also known as the “crypto king of Congress” according to the Minnesota Reformer, has been a vocal advocate for the cryptocurrency industry. Over the past few years, he introduced notable bills, including one aimed at establishing a new definition for tokens and another seeking to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a direct Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Emmer has also expressed support for comprehensive regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies while criticizing Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler’s approach as “regulation by harassment” regarding digital assets.
In addition to his legislative efforts, Emmer leads the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a group in Congress that advocates for crypto-friendly policies and favors a light-touch regulatory approach for the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
The U.S. House of Representatives has been without a Speaker for the past few weeks, following the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California. McCarthy, who had faced a power struggle with fellow lawmakers, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, had reportedly nominated Emmer for the Speaker position. However, Emmer’s withdrawal has now added further uncertainty to the ongoing leadership transition in the House.
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