On Thursday, two senators, Joni Ernst, a GOP Senator from Iowa, and Maggie Hassan, a Democratic Senator from New Hampshire, announced that they would reintroduce a bipartisan bill allowing the U.S. Mint to modify the metal content of coins. The goal of the bill is to cut the increasing cost of producing America’s quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, which has been driven up by rising raw metal prices. The senators have titled the bill the Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act, and they first introduced it in the House and Senate in 2020.
The Need for the Bill
The rising cost of minting coins is a concern for the senators, with raw metal costs causing the price of producing one nickel to reach more than twice its face value. Ernst stated that it was ridiculous that American taxpayers were spending ten cents to produce a single nickel, saying that only Washington could lose money making money. Hassan called for bipartisan support, claiming that the bill would save millions of dollars every year by modifying the composition of coins to use less expensive metals.
Bipartisan Support for Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act
The House passed the bill in 2020 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. However, it did not pass in the Senate because the government was focusing on more urgent pandemic-related bills. With Washington’s pandemic-era spending spree over and a new Republican House majority focused on reducing federal regulations and government spending, the senators believe that their Mint bill may gain more momentum than usual. Ernst hopes that this bipartisan effort will reduce costs by allowing certain coins to transition seamlessly into circulation while modifying their composition. The Republican Representative from Nevada, Mark Amodei, who was the chief sponsor of the 2020 House bill, will also introduce a new version of the bill soon. As party leaders work to create a bipartisan debt ceiling and budget package, this proposal may garner more support than usual. Ernst believes that every penny saved is a penny that doesn’t need to be borrowed.
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