'We'll be back on this' — Alabama senator derails crypto amendment with two words

A compromise which proposed amending provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure deal on crypto failed to meet the requirements of a unanimous consent request in the Senate, making the bill likely to go to a full vote without additional changes.

This afternoon, Senator Tom Carper, the Democratic floor manager for infrastructure bill HR 3684, put forth the compromise amendment agreed upon earlier today by Senators Pat Toomey, Cynthia Lummis, Rob Portman, Mark Warner, Kyrsten Sinema and Ron Wyden on providing clarity for what defines a crypto broker. However, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby objected when Carper did not agree to add Shelby’s own unrelated amendment to the bill — a proposal which would add $50 billion in defense funding.

In just two words — “I object” — the Alabama lawmaker seems to have single handedly stopped the crypto amendment from being incorporated into the bill before a final vote. Though the infrastructure deal could still be modified in the House of Representatives if passed in the Senate, any amendment would require different lawmakers and likely different compromises.

Related: US lawmakers behind crypto amendments to infrastructure bill introduce compromise

The seemingly whimsical objection did not go unnoticed by Toomey, one the lead proponents of the amendment, who spoke of the possible consequences of leaving the language of the transaction reporting requirements unchanged. The senator said miners, stakers, hardware and software providers, and software developers would likely be required to “provide information that they don’t have and they can’t get.”

“All I want to do is have a vote on an amendment that fixes this in a way that has bipartisan agreement, in a way that constrains this to apply narrowly to the people who are actually the intermediaries, running a centralized exchange, who have this information,” said Toomey.

He added:

“We’ll be back on this, because we’ll do a lot of damage. Who knows how much innovation we’re going to stifle. Who knows what kind of new apps never emerge. It’s hard to predict what kind of completely impossible mandate results in, but it’s not good, and it’s going to bring us back here trying to clean up a mess which we could have prevented.”

It’s unlikely there is a path forward for the crypto amendment in the Senate before going to a final vote this week. Should the bill pass, it would still need to go through the House before being signed into law by President Biden.

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