While U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., believes the presentation of the congressional gold medal authorized for the 65th Infantry Regiment is bogged down in red tape, U.S. Mint officials say the design and production process is on track.
Fox News Latino reported Feb. 25 that Rubio went on the offensive, sending a complaint letter to President Obama to put the medal on the fast track. Rubio says four members of the predominantly Puerto Rican contingent known as the Borinqueneers have died since Obama signed into law June 10, 2014, the authorizing legislation. Fewer than 70 Borinqueneers survive who saw service during World Wars I and II and the Korean War.
In a Feb. 26 email response to questions from Coin World, Mint spokesman Michael White provided the following reply:
"There is no holdup with the medal. The design process is proceeding as originally planned. We have been working closely with the appointed liaison. The liaison has undertaken an extensive outreach to Borinqueneers and their families and aggregated a huge amount of data for us. This effort took several months to complete.
"During the CCAC’s [Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee] two-day meeting in January, we discussed this information with the CCAC, along with themes and concepts for the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal.
"Our artists have begun work, but designs are not scheduled to be presented for review until the June advisory committee meetings. We did not want to compress the work and require the artists to rush such an important program."
Candidate designs will be reviewed by both the CCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts. Both advisory panels will forward their recommendations to the Treasury secretary or his designate for final approval. Input will also be provide by the U.S. Mint and representation for the Borinqueneers.
Bronze duplicates of the gold medal may be authorized for sale to the general public at the discretion of the Treasury secretary.
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