WASHINGTON, DC — Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) and Mark Amodei (NV-02) today released the following statements after the House passed H.R. 7995, the Coin Metal Modification Authorization & Cost Savings Act, bipartisan legislation they introduced in August that could potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars each year by allowing the U.S. Mint to begin producing coins at a more cost-effective rate.
“Being able to keep our currency in circulation is critical to our nation’s economy and small businesses, especially during this economic crisis,” said Rep. Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I’m pleased that this bill will allow the U.S. Mint to use new technologies and methods to mint new coins so the nation does not suffer a shortage while also saving tax payer dollars.”
“With the United States spending billions of dollars to manufacture currency, recent reports have suggested that modifying the metallic composition of coins would not only allow the Mint to begin producing coins at a more cost-effective rate, but could save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process,” said Rep. Amodei (NV-02). “However, until existing law is modified, the Mint does not have the authority to make that change, preventing it from operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Our bill takes a balanced approach to modifying existing law in a way that maintains congressional oversight while finally allowing the Mint to produce coins at a rate that will significantly reduce costs incurred by taxpayers. Now more than ever, it’s critical that we continue looking for innovative ways to reign in wasteful spending to ensure the most responsible use of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. I thank Congressman Gottheimer for teaming up with me on this common-sense solution that will alleviate some of the financial strains felt by taxpayers during these uncertain times.”
In 2017, the United States spent $1.3 billion to manufacture currency. While Congress has previously discussed replacing $1 bills with coins, or changing the metals used in the nickel to cut costs, $1 bills are lasting longer than they ever have, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has estimated it’s cheaper to keep the paper notes. However, changing the metallic composition of coins — without affecting the way they look or work – could allow the U.S. Mint to begin producing coins at a more cost-effective rate and potentially save taxpayers a significant amount of money each year. Unfortunately, current law does not give the Mint the authority to make that change. Additionally, the GAO has stated: “Without such authority, the Mint might not be producing coins as cost-effectively as possible.”
Since Congress has the authority to specify which coins are made, the GAO and U.S. Mint have both proposed that Congress should consider amending existing law to provide the U.S. Mint Director with the authority to alter the metal composition of circulating coins if the new metal compositions reduce the cost of coin production. The Coin Metal Modification Authorization & Cost Savings Act would give the U.S. Mint that authority by taking a common-sense and balanced approach to modifying existing law, while reducing costs incurred by taxpayers and paying respect to the general public and relevant stakeholders. More specifically, this legislation would:
- Give Congress 90 legislative days to review new coin metal compositions proposed by the Mint and provide for expedited consideration of a joint resolution of disapproval, should Congress find a proposed modification not to be justified; and
- Require that new coin metal compositions have a “seamless” transition into the marketplace, in that the new metal compositions reduce the cost of coinproduction and do not affect the size, weight, appearance, or electromagnetic signature of the coins.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).