In a historic turn of events, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faced an unprecedented ousting through a congressional vote, with eight Republican representatives breaking ranks to vote against him. This marks the first instance in American history where the House Speaker has been removed by Congress, as reported by Reuters. In the wake of this political upheaval, U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry, known for his crypto-friendly stance, assumed the role of interim House Speaker.
The move to remove McCarthy from the Speaker’s position was initiated by one of his political rivals, Matt Gaetz. Gaetz raised concerns about several conflicting commitments made by McCarthy, prompting the congressional vote.
While Patrick McHenry’s interim appointment is temporary, it holds significance for the digital asset sector. The Speaker plays a pivotal role in shaping the legislative agenda of the House, controlling committee assignments, and scheduling bills for debate and voting. It is a position considered second in influence only to the President and Vice President within the U.S. government.
McHenry’s reputation as a crypto advocate adds an intriguing dimension to his interim leadership. He has been a vocal critic of the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) regulatory approach to the cryptocurrency sector, particularly its enforcement-oriented tactics.
In a recent congressional hearing, McHenry confronted SEC Chair Gary Gensler, accusing him of stifling the digital asset ecosystem and lacking transparency regarding the SEC’s connections with FTX and its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
Notably, McHenry released a discussion draft titled “Digital Asset Market Structure Proposal” on June 1. This proposal aims to provide regulatory clarity, bridge existing regulatory gaps, and foster innovation in the cryptocurrency space. It garnered praise from certain industry leaders for its proactive approach.
However, McHenry’s tenure as House Speaker is expected to be brief, with an official vote scheduled for a new House Speaker on October 11, as reported by Bloomberg. Speculation surrounds potential candidates for the position, including pro-crypto Representative Tom Emmer and even former President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, none of these individuals have publicly expressed a clear interest in pursuing the role.
Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy has confirmed that he will not seek re-election for the House Speaker position, further adding to the uncertainty and intrigue surrounding the future leadership of the House.