President Joe Biden and his administration are attempting to develop an “authoritarian-style” and “surveillance-style” digital U.S. dollar through executive orders, warned House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) on Feb. 28.
The four-term congressman recently introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act to prohibit “unelected bureaucrats” in Washington from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that critics argue could diminish Americans’ financial privacy rights.
The bill, which has several Republican co-sponsors, including Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), would also ensure that the Federal Reserve is held accountable in its research and development of a digital dollar.
“The consequences, if we get it wrong, are far too serious,” Emmer said at a news conference. “The Biden administration is currently itching to create a digital authoritarian-style, surveillance-style digital dollar through an executive order.”
The bill, Emmer says, would restrict the central bank from issuing a CBDC or using a CBDC to implement monetary policy and control the national economy.
He added that efforts to digitize the U.S. dollar need to be transparent and protect Americans’ right to financial privacy. Developing a digital version of the greenback must enhance financial inclusion, ensure transactions are efficient, and refrain from threatening Americans’ privacy or sovereignty.
“We need these common-sense guardrails to prevent unelected bureaucrats here in Washington from sacrificing Americans’ right to financial privacy,” he said. “We do not want to emulate the CCP. We should not be taking our direction from the Communist Party of China.”
In March 2022, Biden signed an executive order that requested the Federal Reserve to continue its ongoing CBDC research, experimentation, and evaluation to determine the benefits and risks of a digital dollar.
Bullish on a CBDC?
Over the past couple of years, the Fed and the Treasury Department have published several CBDC-related reports.
Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Bank for International Settlements in March 2022, Fed Chair Jerome Powell outlined his four qualifications to support a digital dollar: privacy, verifiable, intermediated, and widely accepted as a means of payment.
By Andrew Moran