Some House Republicans have proposed a bill which would kill the 1-dollar bill and replace it with a mandated dollar coin, The Hill‘s Peter Kasperowicz reports.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and two other House Republicans introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act last week, saying the U.S. would save $184 million a year by moving to the dollar coin.But Massachusetts Sens. Scott Brown (R) and John Kerry (D) have introduced a competing bill called the Currency Efficiency Act which is supposed to protect the paper dollar from what they’re calling the “massive overproduction” of the “unpopular one dollar coin.”
“The one dollar coin is misleading because it costs taxpayers so much more,” Brown said. “In fact, we have over $1 billion worth of extra one dollar coins sitting idle in vaults and that’s set to double over the next several years.” Their bill would stop $1 coins from being minted while the current surplus of $1.2 billion in dollar coins exist.
The Dollar Coin Alliance claims that Kerry and Brown are just covering for a business in their home state, Crane & Co., which supplies the paper used to produce dollar bills.
“Unfortunately, it seems the senators have chosen to protect a local business at the expense of the American taxpayer,” former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, the honorary chair of the Dollar Coin Alliance, said, according to the newspaper. “At a time when the government needs to be looking to save every dollar, we can’t continue to play the same Washington game of serving narrow special interests with half-measure legislation.”
NPR’s Planet Money investigated the use of dollar coins earlier this year, finding pallets of them sitting around in Federal Reserve storage unused.
In a 2010 report to Congress, the Federal Reserve said the coins were being held “with no perceivable benefit to the taxpayer” and that banks are sending them back in increasing numbers, according to NPR.
“We have no reason to expect demand to improve,” the Fed said. “We also note that a 2008 Harris poll found that more than three fourths of people questioned continue to prefer the $1 note.”