Is the U.S. Congress getting involved in the repurpose and recycle movement?
It sure seems that way since the Jan. 3, 2015, opening of the 114th Congress; nearly all of the numismatic-related legislation seems to be a repeat of bills that died for lack of action during in the 113th Congress.
Nine congressional gold medal bills and one commemorative coin bill were approved in the 113th Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Gold medal bills that became law include recognition of the 50th anniversary of the death of four young girls as a result of the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala.; the First Special Service Force in World War II; American Fighter Aces; World War II members of the “Doolittle Tokyo Raiders”; Shimon Peres; golfer Jack Nicklaus; World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol; the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers; and the Monuments Men of World War II.
Only one commemorative coin bill became law — the World War I American Veterans Centennial commemoratives scheduled for release in 2018.
Coin legislation introduced so far in the 114th Congress:
H.R. 358, introduced Jan. 14, by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act.
Maloney also introduced the same legislation in the 113th Congress.
H.R. 516, introduced Jan. 22, by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, to amend Title 31 of the United States code to immediately alter the metallic composition of the cent, 5-cent coin, dime, and quarter dollar to save the American taxpayers money.
Stivers was also the sponsor of the same legislation in 2013.
H.R. 602, introduced Jan. 28, by Rep. James B. Renacci, R-Ohio, to recognize and celebrate the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A companion bill was introduced the same day in the U.S. Senate, S. 294, by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
The same legislation was introduced by Portman and Rep. Joseph Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio, in the 113th Congress.
S. 95, introduced Jan. 7, by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to terminate the Presidential dollar coin program.
Vitter introduced similar legislation in 2011 during the 112th Congress and again in 2013 in the 113th Congress, but both bills died for lack of action.
S. 301, introduced Jan. 29, by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., to mint coins commemorating the 2017 centennial of Boys Town.
She introduced similar legislation in the previous congress. The legislation was also introduced in the 112th Congress.
Gold medal legislation
H.R. 69, introduced Jan. 6, by Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, to honor Malala Yousafzai, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, in recognition of her devoted service to education, justice, and equality in Pakistan.
Lee introduced this legislation in the previous congressional session.
H.R. 194, introduced Jan. 7, by Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., a gold medal to honor the late Civil Rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers.
Harper also introduced the same legislation in the 113th Congress.
H.R. 247, introduced Jan. 9, by Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, a gold medal to honor the late poet Maya Angelou.
Former Rep. Stephen Horsford introduced the same legislation in 2014.
H.R. 363, introduced Jan. 14, by Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., a gold medal honoring the First Rhode Island Regiment.
Cicilline also introduced the same bill in the last session of Congress.
H.R. 535, introduced Jan. 26, by Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., a gold medal awarded collectively to the Filipino Veterans of World War II, in recognition of their service.
Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa introduced the same bill in the previous Congress.
H.R. 608, introduced Jan. 28, by Rep. Andrew Carson, D-Ind., to recognize Muhammad Ali’s contributions to the nation by awarding him a gold medal.
Carson introduced the same legislation in the previous Congress.
H.R. 632, introduced Jan. 30, by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., to award a gold medal to the U.S. Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society, to recognize the efforts of American aircrew members to escape captivity and evade capture and the nationals of those foreign countries who assisted them.
Tsongas sponsored the same legislation in the previous Congress.
A few bills have been introduced that cover new topics, including H.R. 431, introduced Jan. 21 by Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., to award a congressional gold medal to “the foot soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
H.R. 438, introduced Jan. 21, by Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, a gold medal to honor Joanne King Herring and posthumously to Charles “Charlie” Wilson and Gustav Lascaris “Gust” Avrakotos, for their efforts to end the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.