Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) reacted to the passing of proposed legislation on El Salvador by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, indicating that the bill now needs to be voted on by the full Senate.
As you may recall, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly passed a bill making Bitcoin legal cash on June 9, and the Bitcoin Law went into effect on September 7, 2021.
During a national address on June 24, 2021, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared that the Bitcoin Law would take effect on September 7, 2021.
Senator Risch, who is ranking member and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said this about “S. 3666: Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador Act,” which he is leading and co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in a press statement published yesterday:
“With El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal money, it’s critical that we identify and manage any financial system risks in the United States.” Our bill, which cleared the committee today, compels the State Department to work with Treasury and other government agencies to assess and mitigate these risks, which include the possibility for hostile actors like China and organized criminal groups to gain power. Senators Menendez and Cassidy have worked with me on this bill, and I appreciate it.”
On February 16, this measure was introduced. “A State Department report on El Salvador’s acceptance of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, as legal cash, as well as a plan to address possible threats to the United States financial system,” according to the bill.
Senator Risch commented at the time:
“The acceptance of Bitcoin as legal cash in El Salvador raises serious worries about the economic stability and financial integrity of a vulnerable US trading partner in Central America.” This new policy has the potential to erode US sanctions policy, giving hostile entities such as China and organized crime groups more power. Our bipartisan bill wants more clarification on El Salvador’s policies and asks the administration to reduce any potential risk to the financial system in the United States.”
Senator Cassidy also stated:
“By recognizing Bitcoin as an official currency in El Salvador, it opens the door to money laundering cartels and jeopardizes US interests.” If the United States wants to prevent money laundering and keep the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency, it must address this issue head-on.”
President Bukele’s reaction to yesterday’s Senate news was as follows:
President Buklele then tweeted that he was meeting Binance Co-Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka “CZ”), who had come to El Salvador the day before.
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