Termination of the Presidential dollar coin program is the focus of
legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate Jan. 23.
If approved by Congress and signed into law, S. 94, introduced by
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., would bring an end to the Presidential
The legislation was referred to Senate Committee on Banking,
Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Vitter’s legislation seeks to amend Title 31, Section 5112, by
striking subsection (n). Title 31, Section 5112, subsection (n),
concerns the redesign and issuance of circulating dollar coins
honoring each of the presidents of the United States.
The current text of subsection (n) (8) states “Termination of
program. The issuance of coins under this subsection shall terminate
when each President has been so honored, subject to paragraph (2)(E),
and may not be resumed except by an Act of Congress.”
Paragraph (2)(E), of the law prohibits coins from bearing “the
image of a living former or current President, or of any deceased
former President during the 2-year period following the date of the
death of that President.”
Vitter’s office did not return requests for comments.
Vitter introduced similar legislation in 2011 during the 112th
Congress but it died for lack of action along with several similar
pieces of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives.
A June 2011 report on the Presidential dollar situation from the
Federal Reserve Board of Governors indicated a surplus of 1.252
billion Presidential dollars since the coins were issued in February 2007.
In reaction to the surplus of coins, on Dec. 13, 2011, Treasury
Secretary Timothy F. Geithner issued a directive to suspend production
at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints of the Presidential dollars for
circulation. Circulation-quality Presidential dollars are still being
produced for numismatic product sales in bags and rolls at premiums
above face value.
Although the Fed’s inventory surplus of Presidential dollars has
continued to rise, Geithner’s directive has slowed the growth. The Fed
inventory now exceeds 1.4 billion coins, according to the Federal
Reserve System’s June 2012 Report to the Congress on the Presidential
$1 Coin Program. The 2012 report states as a result of Geithner’s
directive in late 2011, “the growth rate of the $1 coin inventories
has slowed considerably.”
“Given recent levels of payments of depository institutions, we
estimate that Reserve Banks hold more than 40 years of $1 coin
inventory, assuming continuation of current levels of demand,”
according to the 2012 report by the Federal Reserve.
No new facility needed
Another change has also occurred between the 2011 and 2012 reports.
The 2011 report stated the Federal Reserve planned to spend
$650,000 to construct additional storage vault space at the Federal
Reserve Bank of Dallas to house the surplus Presidential dollars.
However, in August 2012 the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
announced it would not build additional storage vault space because
the need no longer existed.
Geithner’s decision to halt production is cited.
“As a result of the Treasury’s decision, Reserve Banks are
receiving fewer $1 coins from depository institutions, so the Federal
Reserve has decided not to proceed with the construction of the new
facility,” according to the report. ■