U.S. lawmaker calls for hearing into Facebook's cryptocurrency

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) - A senior Republican lawmaker wants Congress to promptly examine Facebook Inc’s decision to launch its own cryptocurrency.

Representative Patrick McHenry, the senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter Tuesday to committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat, calling for a hearing on the initiative, dubbed Libra.

“We know there are many open questions as to the scope and scale of the project and how it will conform to our global financial regulatory framework,” he wrote. “It is incumbent upon us as policymakers to understand Project Libra. We need to go beyond the rumors and speculations and provide a forum to assess this project and its potential unprecedented impact on the global financial system.”

A spokeswoman for McHenry said he would be open to having Facebook testify directly about the move.

Facebook’s announcement has already attracted criticism from some prominent Democrats, including Senator Sherrod Brown, the senior Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, and Representative Katie Porter, who sits on Waters’s panel. Both called for close regulatory scrutiny of the move citing data privacy concerns.

Waters, through a spokeswoman, did not have an immediate statement on Facebook’s announcement.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Lisa Shumaker