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Senate cryptocurrency tax reporting deal fails

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Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) objected to the motion

Cynthia Lummis and Pat Toomey Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A bipartisan deal to exempt cryptocurrency developers from certain tax reporting requirements failed in the Senate after a senator rejected a motion to approve the amendment on Monday.

Last week, the Senate released an over $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that included over $550 billion in new spending to strengthen roads, bridges, and other physical infrastructure like high-speed broadband. The bill also sought to institute new tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions, a provision that would raise an estimated $28 billion to offset some infrastructure costs.

But the digital assets community and lawmakers like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) argued that the proposed definition of “broker” was too vague and could extend reporting requirements to wallet developers and miners. Over the following days, dueling bipartisan groups of senators worked to remedy the problem, ending in today’s agreement.

The deal announcement comes after the Senate held a series of procedural votes late Sunday to advance the original bill, including the controversial cryptocurrency language. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) put out the amendment Monday that would clarify the “broker” definition, but the amendment was defeated when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) objected to the motion later this afternoon.

“We came together to provide greater clarity on the rules for who are the actual brokers of a cryptocurrency,” Toomey said at a press conference Monday. “We’re not proposing anything sweeping or anything radical.”

Notably, Wyden was not signed on to Monday’s amendment clarifying the language. A source familiar told The Verge that the senator did not put his name on the amendment because he feared that future administrations could read the proposed language and interpret it as including miners and developers. The amendment text has yet to be released.

“We’ve been working hard to get a deal,” Wyden said in a tweet Monday. “I don’t believe the cryptocurrency amendment language on offer is good enough to protect privacy and security, but it’s certainly better than the underlying bill.”

Update August 9th, 4:59 PM ET: This article and headline have been edited to reflect that the amendment failed on the Senate floor Monday.