US Coins

Legislation again seeks cost-saving policy change to allow Mint choice

Legislative efforts are being pursued to allow changing compositions of certain circulating U.S. coins based on U.S. Mint research to save taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

Image courtesy of the United States Mint.

Legislation introduced April 20 seeks to amend Title 31 of the United States Code dedicated to “Money and Finance” to save federal funds by congressionally authorizing changes to the composition of circulating United States coins.

Sen. Margaret Wood Hassan, D-N.H., introduced S. 1228 in a bipartisan move with Sen. Jodi Ernst, R-Iowa. The bill was referred to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for further consideration.

The bill is Hassan’s third attempt to promote change in U.S. circulating coin compositions, after S. 4006, introduced by Hassan June 18, 2020, and S. 4663, introduced by Hassan Sept. 23, 2020, were not reported out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, to which the bills were referred after introduction.

Hassan noted that the U.S. Mint’s just released 2022 Biennial Report to Congress (see related article) suggests that by adjusting the metallic compositions of circulating coins, savings of $12 million to $51 million annually could be realized.

“When it comes to fiscal responsibility, it’s just common-cents to use every tool at our disposal,” wrote Hassan. “This bill will save millions of dollars per year by modifying the composition of nickels, dimes, and quarter with less expensive metals. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our bipartisan bill.”

The bipartisan Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act that Hassan and Ernst champion would authorize the U.S. Mint to modify the metallic composition of circulating coins if the modification would reduce costs incurred by taxpayers, allow for a seamless transition into circulation, and have minimal impact on the public.

“It’s absolute non-cents that American taxpayers spend 10 cents to make just one nickel,” Ernst wrote “Only Washington could lose money making money. This commonsense, bipartisan effort will modify the composition of certain coins to reduce costs while allowing for a seamless transition into circulation. A penny saved is a penny not borrowed.”

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