On the other hand, Republicans who have no intention of voting for the final product anyway, like Joni Ernst and John Cornyn, are lining up amendments to gum up the works, with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell behind the scenes continuing to push for more.
There was no agreement on final amendments for Saturday coming out of the Senate Thursday night. In the meantime, they need to work out at least one issue that bogged them down: taxing and regulating cryptocurrency, the new way hedge fund types and investors have found to hide income from the IRS.
An amendment from Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, cosponsored with Republicans Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis, gummed up the works Friday night, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen intervening to try to get Wyden to back down.
Wyden and the two Republicans want to water down the cryptocurrency regulatory overhaul that the White House worked out with Sen. Rob Portman, the lead Republican negotiator on the deal. They agreed to require more oversight and tax compliance for cryptocurrency brokers, one of the real revenue-raisers for the bill at roughly $28 billion over the next decade. Wyden is unexpectedly taking the side of cryptocurrency investors who like the fact that taxable cryptocurrency income is vastly underreported and want to keep it that way.
Sens. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Portman have offered a competing amendment to attempt a compromise, exempting additional cryptocurrency actors from the regulations proposed in the bill, but not as many as Wyden and the Republicans want. The White House has publicly endorsed the Warner-Portman amendment.
“We are grateful to Chairman Wyden for his leadership in pushing the Senate to address this issue. However, we believe that the alternative amendment put forward by Senators Warner, Portman, and Sinema strikes the right balance and makes an important step forward in promoting tax compliance,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
While there are still no guarantee that 10 Republicans are going to vote for cloture (or that there will be an agreement on amendments that lets them even get that far) on Saturday, it’s lumbering forward. It’s all going to be about how much senators want to continue to drag this out into what was scheduled to be their first week of summer break.