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Committee chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) listens to testimony

Brown’s ‘open’ to crypto market structure reform

News: Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said in an interview Wednesday he was “open to working with” Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on an ambitious reform of crypto regulation.

There’s still a long way to go here. But Brown has spent the last several weeks trying to say as little as possible about crypto. This is a subtle shift, but an important one.

“I’m not automatically saying no,” Brown added. “I’m not going to let, through my committee, an industry-written bill. But I’m not automatically going to say no if consumers and investors are protected.”

The Ohio Democrat cautioned that he was waiting to “see the language” produced by the panel, of which he’s a member.

Brown’s interest is crucial for this reform effort in the long term. The market structure bill passed by the House in May makes significant alterations to the authority of both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Future Trading Commission.

Stabenow has made clear her bill text is going to focus on crypto commodities. “We’re not defining securities, because that’s not in our jurisdiction,” the Michigan Democrat told us Wednesday. The Agriculture Committee chair said during a hearing earlier in the day she hoped to distribute “specific language” to senators by the end of the week.

Brown has warned for months he won’t entertain any crypto bill that’s too friendly toward industry. That puts him a bit at odds with Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the top Republican on the Agriculture Committee.

Boozman said he was looking for “broad support within the community we wish to regulate” and didn’t believe lawmakers had achieved that yet.

Meanwhile in IRS news: The IRS’ crackdown on wealthy tax cheats is in full swing: the agency is announcing this morning that it’s raked in $1 billion in taxes owed by rich people.

The haul is from a campaign focused on taxpayers with income over $1 million and more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt. The IRS launched the effort with new Inflation Reduction Act money. Of course, that $60 billion in extra funding from the IRA will be a top target if Republicans win big in the November election.

In the meantime, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are continuing to tout how the funding is helping to crack down on tax cheating. Werfel has made it his mission to prove that the IRS’ extra funding should stay in place.

“This is yet another example of where the Inflation Reduction Act is making a difference,” Werfel said on a call with reporters.

International tax meeting: Members of the House GOP “tax team” focused on global competitiveness met with business leaders Wednesday to talk about international tax provisions from the 2017 Trump tax cut law, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

The law changed how multinational companies pay taxes on overseas profits. The discussion included feedback on what lawmakers could improve on when much of the law expires next year. And the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax came up as a piece that business leaders believe may not be working as intended.

– Brendan Pedersen and Laura Weiss

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