My plan to protect Americans’ financial privacy in a digital economy


Privacy. Individual sovereignty. Free market competition. For centuries, these core American values ​​have given us the confidence to innovate independently and build the world's greatest economy. The United States is an economic leader because we are not compromising these values, building trust in our markets and allowing technologies to flourish that hold these values ​​at their core.

Central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the antithesis of these core American values. Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, CBDCs are government-controlled, programmable money, which, if not carefully designed to emulate cash, could give the federal government the ability to monitor and restrict Americans' transactions. . This isn't just worrying, it's completely un-American – and we've already seen examples of governments weaponizing their financial systems against their own citizens.

China used its COVID tracking system to halt bank operations to lock down its citizens and prevent them from accessing funds in their bank accounts. Closer to home, in 2022, the Canadian government weaponized its banking system to freeze the bank accounts of its own citizens in an effort to disrupt truck drivers' protests.

Unfortunately, this appetite for financial surveillance seems to be growing stronger at home. The Biden administration is looking to abandon our core American values ​​to create a surveillance-style CBDC to compete with China and other countries around the world that are creating a central bank digital currency. Look no further than the presentation the Federal Reserve gave to my staff at the beginning of this Congress, in which “central bank digital currency” was listed as one of their “key duties.”

The White House issued an executive order placing “the highest urgency” on central bank digital currency research and development. Subsequent technical reports from the Biden administration have made it clear that it intends to compromise the values ​​inherent in cash – such as privacy, individual sovereignty and free market competitiveness – in exchange for a surveillance-style CBDC. The transition to a cashless economy is inevitable, but we must never surrender decentralized money.

That's why I'm taking legislative action. My bill, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, is the first and pioneering anti-CBDC legislative effort introduced in the United States. Specifically, this bill prevents unelected bureaucrats in Washington from issuing a digital financial surveillance tool that would undermine the American way of life, while protecting and advancing open, permissionless, and private digital dollar innovation.

Overall, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act ensures that United States digital currency policy remains in the hands of the American people – not an administrative state – so that it upholds our American values ​​of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competition.

Since it was first introduced in 2022, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act has gained significant momentum, garnering over 100 co-sponsors and broad support from industry stakeholders. Just recently, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reintroduced the Senate companion to my bill – which reflects a unified, legislative approach among congressional Republicans on how we believe the United States should be transformed from digital to digital. Must be favorable to the economy.

But this issue is not just about Congress. It made headlines on the presidential podium when President Trump said he would never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency “to protect Americans from government tyranny.” He further stated that “Such a currency would give our federal government complete control over your money.” He is absolutely right.

If not open, permissionless, and private – a CBDC is nothing more than a China-style surveillance tool that can be weaponized to oppress the American way of life. As long as I am in Congress, I will not let this happen. Protecting Americans' financial privacy starts with passing the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act in the House and Senate, so we can send it to President Joe Biden's desk and challenge him not to sign this common-sense piece of legislation. Can give.

The leadership of the United States in the global economy will continue to be driven by our core values ​​of privacy, individual sovereignty, and free market competitiveness that build trust in our economy and system of governance. Abandoning these values ​​in pursuit of a tool that is inherently un-American would jeopardize our national security, our safe and secure markets, and our global leadership. We now have a tremendous opportunity to lead the peer-to-peer digital economy of the future by refusing to compromise the values ​​that have made us extraordinary.

Americans can rest assured that Republicans in Congress will always stand as a bulwark against the expanding government surveillance state and will continue to work to ensure that the digital economy is designed by Americans with American values ​​in mind for generations to come. Go.

Tom Emmer is the House Majority Whip.

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