Coin Related Bills Introduced in the 113th Congress

dollarsAs a follow on to the previous post, I wanted to summarize the four coin related bills that have been introduce so far in the 113th Congress.

The first bill H.R. 77 Free Competition in Currency Act of 2013 was introduced on January 3, 2013, the day the new Congress convened. Bills containing identical provisions have been previously introduced by former Congressman Ron Paul in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Like the previous bills, the current bill broadly seeks to repeal legal tender laws and prohibit the taxation of coins and bullion.

On January 13, H.R. 220 Stop the Coin Act was introduced by Rep Greg Walden. This bill would serve to create a maximum denomination of $200 for any coins minted or issued by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The bill was introduced in direct response to the “Trillion Dollar Coin Idea” which was floated as a way to avert the debt ceiling crisis. Under current law, the Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion and proof coins in denominations at the discretion of the Secretary. Although it hasn’t received as much attention, the Secretary also has broad authority to mint and issue bullion and proof gold coins with denominations at the Secretary’s discretion.

Under a strict interpretation of the law, there would be nothing to prevent the Secretary from creating one or more trillion dollar coins which could be deposited at the Federal Reserve and used for funding. Although both the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve had concluded that this would not be a viable option, the creation of ultra high denomination coins still remains possible under the current law.

The bill proposes amending current law to impose a maximum value of $200 for platinum coins. It would also create a maximum denomination of $200 across all coins minted or issued by the Secretary.

On January 24, S. 94 A bill to terminate the $1 presidential coin program was introduced. The bill would accomplish this by striking the relevant section from the Code.

As I explained in this recent article, the issues that originally prompted a slew of bills seeking to limit or eliminate the Presidential Dollar Program are no longer applicable. Following the Treasury Department decision to suspend production for circulation, growth in the number of $1 coins held in storage has ceased. The coins are produced in quantities needed to fulfill demand from collectors and are sold at a premium to face value, which makes them a very lucrative product offering for the US Mint.

Finally, on January 31, S. 203 was introduced which seeks to authorize a commemorative coin program in recognition and celebration of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Although the text of the bill  is not yet available, it seems likely that it would seek the same program proposed in the last Congress. This would include up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, up to 400,000 silver dollars, and up to 750,000 clad half dollars to be issued in 2016. So far, there is one commemorative program already approved for 2016, which will honor Mark Twain.

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  1. Buzz Killington says

    Here is another thought. After 2014, the 50th anniversary of the JFK half, we could have the half dollar (which doesn’t circulate anyway, and is only sold to collectors) be a “circulating” commemorative. I bet this would sell more half dollars, and be a good chance to try to get some of these pet projects onto a coin, that won’t involve these despised surcharges.

    I have been pretty disappointed with the topic selections for the PM commems the last bunch of years (not with Mark Twain, though!). A clad half dollar, made in the millions, and sold by the roll, is a good place to stash some of these second tier ideas.

  2. Jerry Diekmann says

    I second (or third!) Buzz’s comments. The JFK half dollar has been minted longer than JFK ever lived – it’s time to go, especially since the half dollar doesn’t circulate anymore. We oldtimers can remember very well when the half dollar circulated right along with quarters and dimes. The half could probably circulate once again if the Mint and/or Congress would get over the idea of trying to force dollar coins on the American people. A study of numismatic history would indicate that the American public has NEVER used dollar coins – that is why there were so many Morgan dollars still in the Treasury vaults 60, 70, 80 years after they were minted, just collecting bag marks.

  3. Brian says

    I like the idea of a football commemorative. The sport didn’t exist when our country started producing coins, but has now surpassed baseball as the most popular sport.

    It will likely never be an Olympic sport, so it will not be on an Olympic coin. I’m not sure commemorating the Hall of Fame makes sense, but as long as the coin contains artwork of a football player/game and not of the building itself I think it will be neat.

    Mark Twain also deserves a commemorative, so 2016 could be a good year.

    I would like to see a 5 year moratorium on any commemoratives related to the military. Those have been done to death lately.

    But if they must do one, I like the idea of commemorating a battleship. That would be an interesting coin and unlike anything that the US Mint has produced before that I am aware of.

  4. Jeff in TX. says

    How is it that older silver coins are in storage at the fed and treasury. I thought that silver ,gold coins in the vaults were melted to make new coins. Times have changed, its time to color the coins (red, blue, green and purple). Making them the same size would help. Each coin would have the same metal content, just more of type of metal in each making a different weight. Silver , gold and etc. would stay the same.

  5. Smiledon says

    I am the polar opposite of your position. The NFL does not need taxpayer money. With that said, putting some famous face on the coin would work for me. Like the Jackie Roberson coin. He was some one that broke new ground. Making a coin of a ship in the US Navy would work for me, but the reason that ship is so well know is what the crew did while she was on active duty. Also, The USS Enterprise should be showcased. We celebrate what the people have done, and what our nations armed forces have done, will do, and always do should NEVER be forgotten, Just take a trip to any VA final resting place. Mr. Mark Twain getting a coin is something that I will have to decide later. I know that the NFL, and MLB are coin set I will not be getting.

  6. Smiledon says

    I would buy those half dollar coins, and even better if they where 100% silver.
    But to add fuel to the mix, we did have a health care system pushed on us, so why not push the coin changes?

  7. Jeff in TX. says

    Comm. coins are for all parts of Americas life and history. Making coins about ships, planes, rockets, sites, cities and events could take years for each name of something that comes along.

  8. Blair J. Tobler says

    Just so everyone is clear, the Football Hall of Fame is NOT owned or operated by the NFL. It is a private organization. The NFL would NOT be getting taxpayer money from sales of these coins, the Hall of Fame would. On the other hand, if you want to argue that the NFL should be financially supporting the Hall of Fame (since they do honor the league’s history), that is a different argument entirely.

  9. Smiledon says

    I stand corrected.
    I now have to wonder why the NFL does not support the Hall of Fame. Oh well. However, I still would rather see the FBI, the Coast Guard, or some other organiztion that more “common” people can join. How many people that are reading this can be in the NFL, MLB, NBA?
    The items that you state would be the back drop to the men and women that crewed thoes items. Like the shuttle program; the space shuttle would be the back drop to the people who paid with there lives.

  10. EvilFlipper says

    OT- Sweet backorder on proofs. A little bit sooner than I expected. They only sold 2-300 sets last week so I suppose the number will be around 9kish… Maybe a little less!

  11. Brian says

    Do commemoratives really get taxpayer money? Or do they get a cut of what the mint sells?

    That is a big difference because it is money being paid voluntarily by collectors vs. involuntarily by taxpayers.

  12. Mint News Blog says

    The price of each commemorative coin includes a surcharge. The collected surcharges are released to the beneficiary organization subject to satisfying certain requirements.

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