Fintech task force bill slated for House vote Monday, expected to pass (again)

A bill to promote private sector coordination on ways to reduce terrorist and illicit use of new financial technologies (fintech), including digital currencies, is expected to win House passage this evening, when it’s scheduled to be taken up under a suspension of House rules.

The Financial Technology Protection Act (H.R. 56) mirrors a a bill that cleared the full House last September, during the 115th Congress. Introduced Jan. 3 by Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), H.R. 56 would, among other things, create the “Independent Financial Technology Task Force to Combat Terrorism and Illicit Financing” to conduct independent research on terrorist and illicit use of new financial technologies, including digital currencies; and develop legislative and regulatory proposals to improve counter-terrorist and counter-illicit financing efforts. It would report yearly to Congress on its proposals.

The task force would be led by the Treasury secretary and include the U.S. attorney general, director of national intelligence and the heads of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Secret Service and FBI. In consultation with the other five members, the Treasury secretary would also name to the panel six members to represent the private sector, including the banking industry, nonprofit groups and think tanks. At least two of these private-sector posts would be reserved for individuals with experience in the fintech industry.

H.R. 56, like last year’s House-passed bill, would also:

  • establish a “Fintech Leadership in Innovation and Financial Intelligence Program” to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies; and
  • require creation of a fund, not exceeding $450,000, to pay a reward “to any person who provides information leading to the conviction of an individual involved with terrorist use of digital currencies.”

The House is expected to begin consideration of this and two other bills about 4:45 p.m. ET; any recorded votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. The bill needs to pass both the House and Senate, in identical form, before it can go to the president’s desk for signature.

Financial Technology Protection Act (H.R. 56)