US Senate Sends Infrastructure Bill to House

10 August 2021

The U.S. Senate passed its bipartisan infrastructure bill to the House of Representatives Tuesday after a 69-30 vote.

The bill, which dedicates $1 trillion to infrastructure improvements over the next 10 years including roughly $550 billion in new spending, drew controversy from the crypto community due to a “pay-for” that anticipates raising $28 billion from a broadened crypto tax provision. 

The provision expands the definition of a “broker,” leading to concerns that the IRS might seek to impose broker information reporting requirements on non-broker entities such as miners. 

Advocates for the crypto industry pushed back on the provision, leading to lawmakers introducing amendments to try and modify the language. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) proposed explicitly defining which types of entities are brokers, while a competing amendment introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) proposed a more narrow modification that only exempted proof-of-work miners.

Ultimately, no amendments were considered, and the Senate voted to discuss only the base bill late on Sunday night. 

A last-ditch effort to add a compromise amendment was scuttled on Monday. Toomey, Lummis, Warner, Sinema and Portman proposed a new amendment that needed unanimous consent to pass under the Senate’s procedural rules. 

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) objected to the provision after his effort to add a military funding amendment was blocked by Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). 

The infrastructure bill will now go to the House of Representatives, which is expected to take up the issue in the fall. The crypto provision faces bipartisan opposition there as well, with Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.) all expressing an interest in modifying the language.

It’s unclear how much leeway the House will have to modify the bill.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.