Digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future has publicly called out Alabama lawmaker Richard Shelby for preventing an amendment clarifying the role of crypto in the infrastructure bill to be addressed in the United States Senate.
Fight for the Future has used donations it received in cryptocurrency to place a billboard in Birmingham, Alabama asking lawmakers not to support measures it believes would harm crypto and blockchain firms. Shelby, one of two senators representing Alabama since 1987, objected to the introduction of a crypto amendment to infrastructure bill HR 3684 that was under consideration in the Senate at the time.
“Senator Shelby's constituents deserve to know that he derailed the [crypto] amendment just to stroke his own ego and demand more money for war,” Fight for the Future director Evan Greer told Cointelegraph. “We want to show elected officials that it is simply not okay to be ignorant about issues like decentralized technology and cryptocurrency.”
As it stands now, the infrastructure bill implements tighter rules on businesses handling cryptocurrencies, expands the reporting requirements for brokers and mandates that digital asset transactions worth more than $10,000 be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Several senators worked together to propose an amendment aimed at exempting software developers, transaction validators and node operators as brokers while suggesting that tax reporting requirements “only apply to the intermediaries.”
However, Senate lawmakers did not allow Shelby to add his own amendment to the bill, which would have added $50 billion in defense funding in addition to the roughly $1 trillion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects. The Alabama senator later claimed he supported the crypto amendment but prioritized defense spending.
The infrastructure bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where lawmakers passed a nonbinding resolution to vote on the measure by Sept. 27. Several House members have already said they are in favor of amending the provisions on crypto in the bill, but according to Fight for the Future, Representative Brad Sherman is one of the few voices opposing such an amendment — the lawmaker has previously called for a complete ban on cryptocurrencies in the United States.
“There will be a number of opportunities in the coming months for the House of Representatives to fix the problematic crypto provision that was included in the infrastructure bill. We want members of Congress to know that we'll be watching them and that we won't let them hide from their positions on this.”
Cointelegraph reached out to Senator Shelby but did not receive a response at the time of publication.