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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is introducing a bill Thursday that aims to narrow the scope of qualifying cryptocurrency "brokers" subject to a tax reporting provision included in the new infrastructure law.

Why it matters: The provision created an uproar in early August within the cryptocurrency industry as it would force a wide range of network participants to report transaction information to the government even if it's technically impossible for them to do so.

Background: The infrastructure law's language doesn't explicitly (or more clearly) exclude parties like miners, node operators, and software developers.

  • "Such a requirement is essentially forcing miners, lightning nodes, etc., to identify others on the network," Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito tweeted in August. "Not only is this nonsensical from a technical perspective, such a mandate would very likely be unconstitutional surveillance."
  • Two attempts to correct the language before the infrastructure bill passed into law ultimately failed after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) blocked the amendments for lack of support for his (unrelated) amendment.

Driving the news: The new bill, the "Keep Innovation in America Act," introduced by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a Financial Services ranking member, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), alongside eight other lawmakers, would:

  • Refine "broker" as "any person who (for consideration) stands ready in the ordinary course of a trade or business to effect sales of digital assets at the direction of their customers," and clarify what information they're required to collect, along with clarify the definition of "digital asset."
  • Push back the effective reporting date from Dec. 31, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2015.
  • And it would require Congress to study the implications of expanding the definition of "cash" for reporting purposes.
  • Several cryptocurrency lobbying and advocacy groups provides statements of support for the bill.

Yes, but: The bill still needs to pass.

Go deeper

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

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