[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 83 (Wednesday, May 17, 2023)]
[Page H2383]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Auchincloss) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. AUCHINCLOSS. Mr. Speaker, recently the United States has 
considered issuing a central bank digital currency. CBDCs are digital 
liabilities issued by a central bank and made available to the public.
  The implications for the United States dollar as the world's reserve 
currency, and for domestic fiscal and monetary policy, of a US CBDC are 
hotly debated by experts.
  What should not be controversial, however, is that the Federal 
Reserve, Treasury, and all other executive agencies cannot issue a CBDC 
without explicit authorization from Congress. Article I, Section 8 of 
the Constitution grants that power ``to coin money'' and ``regulate the 
value thereof'' exclusively to Congress.
  Under section 16 of the Federal Reserve Act, the Fed can issue 
``Federal Reserve notes,'' but CBDCs are not Federal Reserve notes. The 
law restricts Federal Reserve notes to paper notes printed on ``plates 
and dies'' engraved by the Treasury Department according to a detailed 
process that clearly does not apply to digital money.
  The Federal Reserve has consistently recognized that it lacks 
authority to issue a CBDC without congressional authorization. The Fed 
published a report on CBDCs in January of 2022 and said that it would 
not issue a CBDC without ``clear support'' from Congress ``in the form 
of a specific authorizing law.'' Fed Chair Jerome Powell has personally 
affirmed that view on multiple occasions since that report was 
  For example, last September, he said during a panel discussion on 
digital finance that the Fed ``will need approval from both the 
executive branch and Congress to move ahead with a central bank digital 
  Although the Fed understands that it cannot issue a CBDC without 
authorization from Congress, some commentators continue to suggest that 
legislation may not be necessary. They are wrong.
  The Framers of the Constitution understood the importance of a strong 
and stable national currency, which is why they granted Congress the 
exclusive power to coin money and regulate its value. Congress must not 
forfeit this power, which is why I am introducing the Power to Mint 
  This bill clearly prohibits the Federal Reserve and the Treasury 
Department from issuing a CBDC without authorization from Congress.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, Representative French Hill, who is 
the chairman of the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial 
Technology and Inclusion on the Financial Services Committee for his 
work with me on this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Hill).
  Mr. HILL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, also I congratulate the gentleman from Massachusetts for 
having the third child join his family in this past week. We 
congratulate the Auchinclosses on that.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the gentleman from 
Massachusetts' bill, the Power of the Mint Act. I thank him for our 
partnership in introducing the first bipartisan bill in this House to 
prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital 
currency, or a CBDC.
  We believe together that under the Constitution, that authority rests 
solely with Congress and the American people, not unelected 
bureaucrats. That is a nonpartisan view.
  Something that sets Americans apart from others is that we are 
rebelliously independent and skeptical of Government overreach. It is a 
cultural tradition in this country that has been passed down from our 
  I compliment the gentleman for having a portrait of Alexander 
Hamilton in his office indicating his strong support of the 
Constitution's views on money.
  Recently, the only time my constituents from central Arkansas call me 
about digital assets is when they are worried that Uncle Sam is going 
to use a central bank digital currency to surveil where they are 
spending money and how much and ultimately block them from using the 
banking and payments system.
  Instead, we are working collaboratively on a bicameral, bipartisan 
basis to believe that innovation belongs in the private sector. That is 
why we had this coalition working in both the House Agriculture 
Committee and the House Financial Services Committee to craft a 
regulatory framework that preserves Americans' privacy, preserves 
American competitiveness, and puts America in the right form for a 
digital future in money.
  Americans have that right to financial privacy, and that is why I am 
proud to support the gentleman from Massachusetts' bill.

  Mr. AUCHINCLOSS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Hill for his 
partnership and leadership on this subject.
  The benefits that the United States enjoys due to the dollar's global 
reserve status have been called an exorbitant privilege, but that 
privilege rests in part upon scrupulous observance of the rule of law 
and how we regulate our currency.
  The Power to Mint Act reinforces the rule of law by emphasizing 
Congress' authority to control the future of the dollar.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to cosponsor my bill and keep the 
power to authorize new currency with Congress.