On Tuesday, December 20, 2022, U.S. Congress released the 2023 Omnibus spending bill containing government funding and decisions on certain policy issues for the next year. The bill when passed will approve $1.7 trillion for federal spending. However, as with previous years, none of the policies earmarked in the bill has to do with cryptocurrency legislation.
1. This "omnibus" is one of the ugliest, least transparent bits of lawmaking I've ever seen–and that's saying something. It isn't just the spending, though the new domestic numbers are gross, given the trillions spent in the past few years.
— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) December 20, 2022
According to reports, the Omnibus bill contains not just necessary legislation for government funding but also carries several policy issues that would otherwise be highly contested.
U.S. Congressman Dan Bishop tweeted what he reports as his team’s uncovering of a few of the “most egregious provisions” in the Omnibus bill.
The 4,155-page bill was reportedly released only 16 hours before the Senate vote to begin debate on the bill. This has sparked major outrage at the bloated bill and continued massive spending at a time when the U.S. owes $31 trillion in national debt.
Wall Street Journalist, Kimberley Strassel calls it an ugly bit of lawmaking that ducks accountability.
While the bill has sections earmarked for new horseracing rules, cosmetics regulations, and salmon restoration, cryptocurrency legislation remains ubiquitously nonexistent at a time when the lack of exhaustive coverage under existing law has contributed to issues such as the FTX debacle.
Barron’s reported that bids to get Congress to pass a major cryptocurrency regulatory bill next year will likely face major difficulty due to how unsatisfactory lawmaker consensus has been even in issues upon which they agree. Debate and appeals over sections of the Omnibus bill will likely take up a major portion of next year’s legislative focus. In such a climate, proper legislation for crypto is looking more and more unlikely.
Though crackdowns and debates in Congress over cryptocurrency and the blockchain have been had in recent times, with there being a Congressional Blockchain Caucus deliberating over issues, many in the crypto community worry that not enough attention is being paid. Bad legislation could easily sacrifice decentralization as argued by U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer, co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
The position of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been one of strict ad overbearing regulation, bordering on overregulation, as it classifies cryptocurrency under the same umbrella as traditional securities. Bringing about a major ruling in Congress could ratify a new framework for cryptocurrency regulation in the U.S. and somewhat stabilize the FUD-ridden markets.
Unfortunately, such a ruling may still be out of reach for now.