US House fails to override Biden’s veto of SAB 121 resolution

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to override President Biden’s veto of a bill to end SAB 121, a controversial SEC guidance.

Although most representatives voted against the veto of a SAB 121 resolution, the votes did not meet the required number to overturn it. The attempt was unsuccessful as U.S. lawmakers voted 228-184, falling short of the majority needed to override President Joe Biden’s veto.

A two-thirds majority was needed from both houses of Congress to overturn the veto, which meant 67 out of 100 senators in the Senate and 290 lawmakers in the House. The vote in the House on Thursday fell short of obtaining the required two-thirds majority. Twenty-one Democrats and 207 Republicans voted in favor, while 183 Democrats and one Republican voted against.

Congressman Drew Ferguson of Georgia was the lone Republican who voted against it.

Earlier this year, Biden had vetoed Congress’ bipartisan effort to erase the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) policy known as Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 (SAB 121).

SAB 121 

SAB 121 mandates that public companies provide transparency regarding the management and potential risks associated with protecting customers’ crypto assets. This policy has sparked controversy because it could complicate financial disclosures and add to operational challenges.

The bill addresses concerns about privacy and equity in financial dealings, emphasizing transparency and accountability among service providers.

Originally passed with bipartisan support in both chambers, the resolution faced staunch opposition from the Biden administration, arguing that overturning SAB 121 would undermine the SEC’s role in protecting investor interests and financial stability. 

In May, the House voted 228-182 against the SEC’s crypto custody guidance, with 21 Democrats joining Republicans to pass legislation striking SAB 121 down. The motion was approved by the Senate, receiving 60 votes in favor and 38 against, as several Democrats sided with the Republicans.

The ongoing debate over SAB 121 shows how divided U.S. policymakers are over crypto. Despite attempts by crypto advocates and some lawmakers to portray the regulation as harsh and constraining, today’s outcome indicates how slow-moving changes are to alleviate industry concerns. 

While supporters of the resolution criticized Biden’s veto as a missed opportunity to reform what they perceive as overly burdensome regulation, opponents argued for maintaining regulatory clarity and investor protection in an evolving digital economy. 

The deadlock in Congress reflects broader uncertainty over the future regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies amidst rapid technological advancements and financial innovation.

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