(Bloomberg) — House Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry plans to retire when his term ends in January 2025.
The North Carolina Republican’s departure will be a blow for the crypto industry, which has counted the lawmaker as one its most powerful allies on Capitol Hill. He’s backed legislation that many in the sector have supported and that some of his Democratic counterparts have criticized for not being tough enough.
McHenry, a 48-year-old policy wonk with a deep understanding of financial markets, rose to national attention in October when he temporarily led the House after the ouster of former speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“This is not a decision I come to lightly, but I believe there is a season for everything and—for me—this season has come to an end,” McHenry said Tuesday in a statement announcing his plans to retire.
The Crypto Council for Innovation, an industry group, lauded McHenry as an “unparalleled leader” who “will be missed” in a statement issued by its chief executive, Sheila Warren.
McHenry was running up against term limits as the top Republican on the Financial Services panel, barring a waiver. But his announcement prompted early discussions of who would take the gavel.
Arkansas Republican French Hill, a senior panel member with a background in commercial banking and investment management, signaled interest.
“I’ve spent 40 years in that arena, both in the capital markets and in commercial banking,” Hill said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power. “And if my colleagues wanted me to take on that task, that’d be great.”
McHenry, who had been a close ally to McCarthy, was enraged at the former speaker’s ouster, saying at one point he had “real anger” over the outcome. He credited McCarthy with having “duct-taped” together the fractious House GOP for months
He was a key negotiator among House Republicans. Earlier this year, he helped craft a compromise to avert a breach of the US debt ceiling and economic disaster.
McHenry first came to Congress in 2005 as a 29-year-old who was at the time the youngest lawmaker. He came in with an aggressive style, looking to change how Washington operated. He ultimately became part of the inner circle of power facing a new generation of young upstarts who want to claw power from the Republican establishment.
McHenry has criticized Biden administration financial regulation initiatives, including Securities and Exchange Commission proposals that would force hedge funds and private equity firms to reveal more about their fees, and would require companies to make detailed environmental, social and governance disclosures.
McHenry also has taken aim at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a political lightning rod since its creation following the 2008 financial crisis, after the agency bolstered its enforcement program and changed some exam criteria under Director Rohit Chopra.
McHenry has come under fire from Democrats for blocking several Senate financial services provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, including an outbound investment provision targeting China and legislation targeting fentanyl transactions. McHenry has also been seeking a path for his committee’s crypto legislation, which has yet to pass the House and faces stiff resistance from Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
–With assistance from Steven T. Dennis, Christian Hall, Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu.
(Updates with French Hill in seventh and eighth paragraphs)
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