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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota is promoting legislation to forbid the federal government from issuing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), citing fears that such a move could be used to violate Americans’ privacy or control their economic choices.

H.R.5403, the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, would forbid U.S. Federal Reserve banks from “issu[ing] a central bank digital currency, or any digital asset that is substantially similar under any other name or label, directly to an individual,” and the Federal Reserve’s board of governors and Federal Open Market Committee from “us[ing] any central bank digital currency, or any digital asset that is substantially similar under any other name or label, to implement monetary policy.”

The bill currently has 68 co-sponsors (all Republicans) and cleared the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on September 20 in a 27-20 vote. Emmer previously introduced the bill last year, when it failed to gain traction. 

“This bill is simple: It halts the efforts of this Administrative State under President Biden from issuing a financial surveillance tool that will undermine the American way of life,” said Emmer, who is also House Majority Whip. “In China, the Communist Party is using a central bank digital currency to track the spending habits of its citizens. The data is being used to create a social credit system that rewards or punishes people based on their behavior.”

“Closer to home in the Western Hemisphere, in Canada, the Trudeau Administration froze the bank accounts of individuals involved in the 2022 trucker protests,” he continued. “That might work in Canada; that doesn’t work here.”

“This appetite for financial surveillance may be gaining a stronghold, unfortunately, right here at home,” Emmer warned. “The White House issued an Executive Order placing urgency on central bank digital currency research and development, and the agency reports to that executive order have made it clear that the Biden Administration is not only itching to create a CBDC, but they are willing to trade Americans’ right to financial privacy for a surveillance-style central bank digital currency.”

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the financial committee’s ranking Democrat, attacked the bill on the grounds that it “would stifle that research and prevent us from moving forward even if it means that the dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency and even if it means that U.S. citizens lose out on faster, cheaper and simpler payments.”

The prospects of central bank digital currency and centralized digital identification are touted as great advancements for personal convenience, security, and reliability, but carry great risk for personal freedom. Critics warn that such systems could be used to more easily track or restrict individuals’ movements, invade their privacy, and limit their economic choices, eventually with the potential to even make the ability to pay for anything contingent on compliance with new government standards.

Such a future is currently being explored by the Biden administration, which earlier this year ordered a study on the feasibility of switching to a digital dollar, even as the concept is being abandoned by other countries that have considered it, including Japan, Denmark, and Nigeria. Only 16% of Americans favor adoption of a CBDC, according to a May survey by the libertarian Cato Institute.

In the field of Republicans currently competing for the nomination to challenge Biden for the presidency in 2024, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has taken the strongest stand against CBDCs. In May, he signed legislation to ban “the use of a federally adopted central bank digital currency (CBDC) by excluding it from the definition of money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code” and “foreign-issued CBDC to protect consumers against globalist efforts to adopt a worldwide digital currency.”

He has also vowed to ban CBDCs if elected president, calling them a “massive threat to American liberty” and noting that the administration of his chief GOP competitor, former President Donald Trump, was favorable to CBDCs.