Another bill aimed at improving the circulation of small-sized
dollar coins has been introduced in Congress.
On Jan. 31, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced S. 2049, titled,
“A bill to improve the circulation of $1 coins, to remove barrier to
the circulation of such coins, and for other purposes.” Sen. Harkin
was joined by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in introducing the bill. It
has been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and
Urban Affairs where it sits with three co-sponsors.
In a Jan. 31 press release, Harkin stated, “Promoting the dollar
coin is a smart investment for our country that saves taxpayer’s money.”
He added: “With the deficit looming, we need only look at the
cost-savings from this effort to understand why this legislation is so
urgently needed. I am hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will
continue to gain traction in Congress.”
The Senate bill was introduced as a companion bill to H.R. 2977,
the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act (COINS
Act), introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David
Schweikert, R-Ariz., on Sept. 20. That bill currently has 12
cosponsors and has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Domestic
Monetary Policy and Technology.
The goal of both the Senate and House bills is the same: to save
taxpayer funds by transitioning to the use of $1 coins and away from
the $1 Federal Reserve note. Schweikert has stated that the transition
could save Americans $184 million a year and nearly $6 billion over 30
years, citing government reports showing that a $1 coin can last 17
times longer than a $1 note. Sponsors for both the Senate and House
versions of the bill cite multiple reports by the Government
Accountability Office that predict annual savings ranging from nearly
$200 million to more than $500 million by making the transition.
The legislation calls for the Federal Reserve System to sequester
all Anthony dollars within six months of the date of enactment of the
act, and to release them at face value and in bulk quantities to
dealers in collectible coins and to countries that have adopted the
U.S. dollar as their base unit of exchange. One year after the
enactment of the act, these dollars would be declared and treated as
obsolete U.S. coins, although they would remain legal tender.
The bill also calls for the Federal Reserve to issue a quarterly
report to the Committee on Financial Services of the House of
Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs of the Senate on the number of small-sized dollars
sequestered, the number remaining in circulation, and the efforts that
have been made to reduce the number sequestered and in circulation.
The legislation further requires the Federal Reserve to undertake
efforts to improve the circulation and remove barriers to the
circulation of the dollar coin, to issue quarterly reports on the
success of such efforts, to conduct outreach and education programs to
help businesses use the small-sized dollar coin and to work with
foreign countries to help them understand the usefulness of a dollar coin.
The bill would permit $1 Federal Reserve notes to be placed into
circulation until either the date on which the number of dollar coins
placed into circulation after the date of the enactment of this act
exceeds 600 million annually or four years after the enactment of the
act, whichever occurs first. The act provides that the $1 Federal
Reserve note will remain legal tender.
The House bill differs slightly from the Senate version in that
the House bill requires an additional report by the Federal Reserve
addressing its efforts to improve the circulation of Native American
Within the last year, two bills aimed at targeting inefficiencies
in the $1 coin program have already been introduced in the Senate but
both have failed to generate widespread support. Five other bills
covering similar ground have been introduced in the House, and like
the Senate bills, none has gained significant traction. ■