After weeks of negotiations, the Senate approved a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package Tuesday authorizing over $500 billion in new spending to improve roads, bridges, and other physical infrastructure like broadband and EV charging. It’s the largest domestic spending bill in over a decade.
“It’s taken quite a while. There have been a lot of bumps in the road,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday.
Aside from more traditional infrastructure spending like roads, the bill seeks to bolster US broadband networks with an additional $65 billion. It also makes permanent a pandemic-era internet subsidy program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit fund, renaming it the Affordable Connectivity Fund. The fund offers low-income families $30-a-month subsidies to go toward their internet bills.
The package also includes $7.5 billion to build over 500 million EV charging stations across the US to help encourage EV adoption. A more reliable charging network could incentivize people to purchase more EVs over the next ten years.
Still, controversial language regarding cryptocurrency tax reporting remains in the bill. Lawmakers sought to set off some of the infrastructure spending by extending cryptocurrency tax reporting requirements, raising an estimated $28 billion in revenue. The digital assets community and lawmakers like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) argued that the language was too vague and would make wallet developers and miners subject to reporting. After days of negotiations, an amendment aimed at fixing that problem failed on the floor after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) objected.
Now, the House is set to begin debate on the infrastructure bill before it receives final approval and heads to President Biden’s desk. It’s unclear how long the process will take before the language is finalized.
In a letter to every House lawmaker, members of the bipartisan Blockchain Caucus raised concerns over the Senate’s cryptocurrency provision. “Left unchanged, this provision will have sweeping implications for crypto investors in our country and further regulate innovation out of the United States,” they wrote. The House has an opportunity to amend the bill to fix these issues before it’s moved for a floor vote.