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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans will face scrutiny in two Congressional hearings this week, during which company exec David Marcus will attempt to abate lawmakers’ concerns.

The big picture: Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrency has caught the attention of Congress like no previous cryptocurrency. As Fed chairman Jerome Powell said last week, any problems with Libra "would arise to systemically important levels just because of the mere size of the Facebook network."

On the docket: Facebook will testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

What to watch: There’s no shortage of questions for lawmakers to delve into this week, but a few topics will likely emerge as priorities during the hearings:

  • Privacy: Facebook’s string of privacy scandals over the last couple of years is sure to raise a lot of questions on the topic from lawmakers. (While Libra’s governing body is not run by Facebook, the social media giant does have a new subsidiary in charge of developing and maintaining a digital wallet compatible with the Libra token.)
  • What is Libra and who should regulate it: Is it a security, exchange-traded fund, something else? (In prepared remarks, Marcus says Libra’s governing body will register with FinCEN as a money services business, in addition to oversight from various regulators in Switzerland, where it’s based.)
  • Financial and monetary risks: As Powell hinted, because of Facebook’s scale (it has more than two billion users globally), it could have huge implications.
  • Consumer protections: Facebook’s subsidiary, Calibra, is developing a digital wallet for Libra tokens that can interact with their bank accounts.

What they’re saying: “ Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals,” Marcus says in his prepared testimony for the Senate hearing.

Bonus: Over the weekend, The Block obtained a draft bill that would effectively ban Facebook and other tech companies with over $25 billion in annual global revenue from creating digital currencies.

  • Sources tells Axios that the bill came from House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters's staff, but is intended as a starting point for discussion with stakeholders.
  • Some experts believe it's simply a way to make a strong point to Facebook and not a serious piece of legislation.

What’s next: Don’t be surprised if Congress schedules more hearings about Libra, especially since there are 27 other companies and organizations involved in the project, including major payments providers like Visa and Mastercard.

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Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

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Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.