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Senate passes trillion-dollar infrastructure bill with unamended crypto tax language

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On August 10, the Senate passed H.R. 3684, a landmark infrastructure package months in the making that in its final steps became a flashpoint over cryptocurrency regulation in the United States.

The final vote tally was 69-30, with one abstention from Senator Mike Rounds. The bill has been a priority for the Biden administration and saw broad bipartisan support, despite Democrats asking for more and Republicans asking for less spending. 

The bill's process, with the Senate version incubating behind closed doors with a bipartisan group, has proved controversial, especially for the crypto community. 

The language that now passed would identify anyone who provides "any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person" as a broker for the purposes of IRS reporting. The crypto industry immediately voiced concerns that beyond the target cryptocurrency exchanges, that language would potentially render such parties as miners, stakers, node operators and software developers responsible for reporting tax information of crypto users. That is not technologically feasible.

Two amendments looking to correct this broad definition emerged over the past week, eventually consolidating into a compromise that included Treasury support. Due to the bill's truncated process, they didn't get a traditional vote. Senator Pat Toomey instead presented the consolidated amendment to the Senate for unanimous consent, which required no senator to object.

Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama ultimately sank the amendment out of a desire to see his own $50 billion amendment, to add military spending, enter the bill. 

The bill still needs to pass in the House of Representatives, which is on recess until September. It is not expected to face substantial resistance in the lower chamber. 

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Oct 15, 2021, 2:54AM UTC
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