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Lawmakers: The Fed Doesn’t Have the Authority to Issue a CBDC
We’ve addressed the many technological and political problems that a US central bank digital currency (CBDC) would create or exacerbate, but now some Republican lawmakers are asking different questions:
By what right or authority could the Federal Reserve create a CBDC? Do they have the rightful power for such an undertaking? After all, the power to coin money is exclusively and constitutionally the province of Congress.
A group of Republican lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee have asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to share the Justice Department's assessment on whether the Federal Reserve has the necessary authority to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The Justice Department has published two reports in response to President Joe Biden's March executive order on crypto, including one on information sharing on crypto crimes internationally and one announcing the formation of a group of prosecutors who would specialize in crypto crimes. Another report, which would detail whether Congress has to authorize a CBDC, has yet to be published.
The latter report is what the lawmakers, who include the committee's ranking member, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina), and French Hill (R-Arkansas), are asking Garland to share.
The lawmakers believe that the Fed doesn't have the authority necessary to issue a CBDC, the letter said, which also pointed to requests from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Vice Chairwoman Lael Brainard calling on congressional action.
They’re expecting a response from the attorney general by Oct. 15.