The Texas Republicans wants to repeal a key funding mechanism for the new infrastructure law — with no offset.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), a vocal opponent of any legislation that increases the national debt, filed a bill on Monday that would effectively add billions to the deficit by repealing part of President Joe Biden's newly signed infrastructure package.
The bill would specifically roll back one of the funding mechanisms that pays for the new law's $550 billion investment in roads, bridges, water systems, broadband, electric vehicles, and clean energy infrastructure.
The section Cruz is seeking to eliminate would increase reporting requirements for cryptocurrency — alternative money systems like Bitcoin — to make sure that profits from those investments can be taxed the same as others.
Cruz, who unsuccessfully tried to get that provision removed before the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act became law, decried it in a Tuesday press release as a "devastating attack" on an "emerging" industry.
According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the cryptocurrency rules would bring in an estimated $28 billion in additional revenue over the next decade, essentially paying for about 5% of the new infrastructure investments.
Cruz's repeal proposal contains no offset, meaning the lost revenue would simply be covered by more borrowing by the federal government.
The Texas senator's proposal seems to fly in the face of his own past rhetoric opposing the infrastructure bill.
In July, after Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on the infrastructure framework, Cruz and eight GOP colleagues said that they could not support it because it might mean more borrowing and because Democrats might also pass Biden's Build Back Better climate change and caregiving infrastructure proposal separately.
"There is a day of reckoning if we don't get our fiscal house in order," they wrote. "But with our national debt growing out of control and Democrats dedicated to passing a 100% partisan blowout spending package totaling $3.5 trillion, we cannot support any additional deficit spending on Joe Biden's, Nancy Pelosi's, Chuck Schumer's and Bernie Sanders' liberal wish list."
As the Senate debated the bipartisan infrastructure plan in early August, Cruz denounced it as "a trap" funded in part by "money we're borrowing from China and debt that we're putting on our kids and grandkids."
Once the bill passed the Senate on a 69-30 bipartisan vote over his objections, Cruz released a press statement warning, "Even if you count the gimmicks and fake offsets, this bill will increase the deficit by over a quarter of a trillion dollars."
He added, "If, like me, you don't trust the Washington Swamp's funny math, we're about to plunge ourselves even further into debt. America is already $28.6 trillion in debt, and it's set to skyrocket even higher."
A Cruz spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.