Infrastructure Package Passes Key Senate Vote, Includes New Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrency

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 29, 2021
1920px-United_States_Capitol_-_west_front

The massive infrastructure package proposed by the White House cleared a key hurdle Wednesday night, as the Senate, by a 67-32 vote, which included 17 Republicans, approved $550 billion in new federal spending, the particulars of which had snarled negotiations for weeks and prevented a wider vote on the overall $1 trillion package, according to the New York Times.

The $550 billion includes  $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; $39 billion for public transit; $65 billion for broadband; $17 billion for ports and waterways; and $46 billion to help states and cities prepare for droughts, wildfires, flooding and other consequences of climate change. The Times noted that Democrats made some concessions in the negotiations, such as reducing the public transit funding from $49 billion to $39 billion, and eliminating a $20 billion program that would facilitate private-sector investment in infrastructure projects. 

Another major concession was in how the package would be paid for. While the White House originally wanted beefed-up IRS enforcement to form a major part of the funding, Republicans dug in their heels on the measure, which would have also included new bank reporting rules. Instead, about $250 billion was taken from already-existing-but-unspent pandemic aid funds, including unemployment payments in states that cancelled their programs early. Republicans, in turn, agreed to delay (but not discard) a Trump-era Medicaid rule that had yet to be implemented. 

On top of this, the parties also agreed to new reporting rules for cryptocurrency. These rules would require that brokers of digital assets, which includes both decentralized exchanges and peer-to-peer marketplaces, report transactions to the IRS; cryptocurrencies would also be added to current rules requiring that businesses reporting cash transactions in excess of $10,000. 

With the funding hurdle now cleared, the Senate must now draft the actual legislation and, eventually, vote on it. Should that happen without any major complications, then the matter will go to the House of Representatives, where progressives have said they will press for more of the priorities that were ultimately excluded in the Senate. 

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