Crypto and Blood Transports: 5 Things in the Infrastructure Bill That Might Surprise You

The United States Senate is debating a sweeping $1.2 billion package focused on infrastructure and could advance the proposal by the end of the week, but some items tucked into the nearly 3,000-page bill could come as a surprise to taxpayers.

Behind the scenes, bipartisan negotiations stretched for weeks before the text of the legislation was released last Sunday evening. In the days since, members, lobbyists and other stakeholders have been poring over the details, while senators also propose amendments that ultimately could change the final version of the package.

Brian Riedl, an analyst at the Manhattan Institute, told Newsweek that there haven't been a lot of major bombshells, but some surprises as to what made it into an infrastructure package. He noted that there currently is no Congressional Budget Office score to determine how much of the new spending is offset.

"In the offices I'm talking to, the biggest concern with Republicans right now is the scoring," Riedl said.

But the price tag and the scope of what's considered infrastructure priorities in the bill has already prompted some grumbling from Republican critics.

"The question is not whether or not infrastructure is a good and a necessary thing, nor is the question whether the bill contains some good things," Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "The question is rather how much should the federal government be involved in infrastructure, and if it should, where it should, how much should it be spending on it. The truth is the particulars of this bill take the scope far beyond what should be under the realm of the federal government, under the domain of the federal government."

Congress mulls infrastructure package
The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on August 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress is working to come to an agreement to pass U.S. President Joe Biden's proposed infrastructure bill before they head into their August recess on the 9th. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Here are five unexpected items:


In a move meant to help pay for new spending in the bill, the bipartisan proposal includes a provision aimed at strengthening rules on how "digital assets" are taxed. Specifically, it would require crypto "brokers"—companies that facilitate transactions—to report more information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about them.

The move would represent new federal oversight for a part of the financial system that has largely gone unregulated.

Investors are already supposed to report crypto transactions to the IRS, but third-party reporting is seen as a way to ensure it.

It's already divided some senators. Critics argue that it is a step toward more taxation and could be abused. Several proposed amendments are aimed at modifying the crypto provision.

Blood transports

Groups that advocate for blood donation efforts—AABB, America's Blood Centers and the American Red Cross—have all urged Congress to make it easier to transport blood.

Their efforts are now tucked into the infrastructure bill in a provision that would allow vehicles transporting life-saving blood and blood components to use carpool and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Some states have already passed legislation that would allow carpool lane access to the vehicles, but federal approval is needed for them to take effect.

Female truck drivers

Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have previously pressed for efforts to encourage more women to enter the trucking industry. The language has made it into the infrastructure proposal.

The measure would create a new women in trucking advisory panel through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that would focus on ways to encourage women to enter the field and provide companies with more information about ways they can expand opportunities.

Industry experts estimate that women make up less than 10 percent of the trucking workforce.

Drunk driving prevention

The proposed infrastructure package could ultimately require new cars sold in the United States to come with "advanced drunk and impaired driving technology" in the coming years.

The measure directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to study how alcohol-detection systems could be used and mandated and release a final set of rules in three years. Automakers would then get two years to adjust and comply.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that requiring cars to have built-in alcohol-detection systems could prevent more than a quarter of U.S. road fatalities and save at least 9,000 lives a year.


The legislation proposes more than $600 million in funding for recycling education, new recycling programs through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) and efforts aimed at reducing debris and post-consumer materials that pollute oceans.

Dubbed the RECYCLE Act, the provision would create a new five-year EPA grant program to educate people about residential and community recycling programs.

"Far too often, consumer confusion leads to poor recycling habits, which can damage recycling equipment and cause contamination in the recycling stream," Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican who backed the effort, said in a statement.

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