The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act has been reintroduced in the House by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter – 18 months after it originally passed the chamber. Since its passage, the proposal never received a vote in the Senate which was controlled by Republicans.
Perlmutter said that during the coronavirus pandemic, “the industry was deemed essential yet forced to continue to operate in all cash” which added “a significant public health risk for businesses and their workers.”
“The genie is out of the bottle and has been for many years. Thousands of employees and businesses across this country have been forced to deal in piles of cash for far too long, and it is the responsibility of Congress to step up and take action to align federal and state laws for the safety of our constituents and communities. The public safety need is urgent, and a public health and economic need has also emerged with the pandemic further exacerbating the cash-only problem for the industry.” – Perlmutter in a statement
In 2019, the bill passed the House with bipartisan support – 321-103 – including 91 Republicans and one independent. The renewed version of the bill includes technical changes to the safe harbor, strengthened hemp provisions, and other technical updates, according to a press release from Perlmutter’s office.
Despite the supermajority support in the House, Senate Republicans pushed back against the reforms, including then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo. The committee is now led by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Ranking Member Pat Toomey.
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