National Council on Disability Document Archive

S1038, Efficient Currency Act, by Graham

Posted by: Jamal Mazrui
Date Mailed: Thursday, July 24th 1997 03:12 PM

               Congressional Record dated Monday, July 21, 1997
                                Senate Section
                   ----------------------------------------                    
 
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Remarks by GRAMS (R-MN) on S. 1038: Efficient Currency Act of 1997
         [CR page S-7768, 69 lines]
 
                  Attributed to GRAMS (R-MN)
        By Mr. GRAMS (for himself and Ms. Moseley-Braun):
 
    S. 1038. A bill to provide for the minting and circulation of one dollar
  coins, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and
  Urban Affairs.
 

                       THE EFFICIENT CURRENCY ACT OF 1997
 
 
    Mr. GRAMS. Mr. President, today Senator Moseley-Braun and I are introducing
  the Efficient Currency Act of 1997. The bill calls for a newly designated,
  golden-colored $1 coin to replace the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.
 
    The argument for a $1 coin is simple: it saves money. According to
  estimates of the General Accounting Office and the Federal Reserve, replacing
  the $1 bill with a coin saves the Government $2.28 billion during the first 5
  years it circulates. As we consider plans to balance the budget and eliminate
  Government waste, I believe that carrying a $1 coin along with $2 bills is a
  relatively painless option compared to the alternatives of raising taxes or
  cutting important programs.
 
    A public opinion poll conducted in May 1997 reveals that 58 percent of the
  American public favors replacing the $1 bill with a coin when informed that
  such a change would save the Government $456 million annually.
 
    I want to stress that the Efficiency Currency Act of 1997 does not call for
  a phase out of the $1 bill until 1 billion $1 coins authorized under this
  legislation are in circulation. If the public rejects the new coin, the
  phase-out will not occur.
 
    Unless this legislation is approved in the near future, the U.S. Mint will
  begin the process of minting more of the unpopular Susan B. Anthony coins by
  1999. The supply of Anthony coins in Government inventories fell by a total
  of 137 million coins in 1995 and 1996. Only 146 million remains as of May 30.
  The inventory has been falling at the rate of about 5 million per month,
  because Anthony dollars are used at hundreds of vending locations, by more
  than a dozen major transit systems, and by the U.S. Postal Service. Contrary
  to reports by opponents of the dollar coin, the U.S. Postal Service has no
  plans to discontinue the use of the Anthony dollar in their self-service
  operations. The timeframe for a decision by Congress is short, because the
  U.S. Mint has stated that it needs 30 months to design and fabricate a new $1
  coin.
 
    I think one of the most compelling reasons to replace a $1 bill with a $1
  coin is the cost savings. First, the Treasury Department will save money. A
  $1 coin lasts about 30 years while costing about 8 cents. A $1 bill is
  significantly more expensive, as it lasts only 1 year and 1 month at a cost
  of 4 cents per bill.
 
    Second, the private sector will save money. A $1 coin is easier to process
  than a $1 bill. Paper money received on buses must be hand-straightened at a
  cost of over $20 per 1,000, or about 2 cents for each dollar. Coins can be
  processed for less than one-tenth of the cost. The change to a $1 coin is
  estimated to save the mass transit industry $124 million annually.
 
    Furthermore, vending operators could avoid placing dollar bill acceptors,
  which cost between $300 and $400 each, on each vending machine. The
  additional cost of these machines eventually must be passed on to customers.
  In addition, bill acceptors frequently do not work and are more expensive to
  maintain than coin mechanisms.
 
    Another benefit is that many consumers will actually have less, not more,
  change in their pocket. Instead of having to use 4, 8, or 12 quarters to pay
  for mass transit, parking meters, phone calls, and car washes, they will use
  dollar coins weighing a fraction the weight of many quarters.
 
    The visually impaired support the introduction of a $1 coin because the $1
  bill can be confused with bills of higher denominations. A useable $2 coin
  will permit them to complete small transactions without ever having to use
  paper money.
 
    This legislation is called the Efficiency Currency Act because passage
  would bring efficiencies to the private sector as well as to Government. This
  commonsense approach to modernizing our currency is not an original idea. In
  fact, the United States is the only major industrialized country that does
  not have high denomination coins.
 
    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that both a copy of the Efficient
  Currency Act of 1997 and a summary of its contents be entered into the
  Record.
 
    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the
  Record, as follows:
 
----------------------------------------
Text of Measure -- S. 1038: Efficient Currency Act of 1997
         [CR page S-7768, 63 lines]
 

                                     S. 1038
 
 
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
  States of America in Congress assembled,
 

  SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
 
 
    This Act may be cited as the "Efficient Currency Act of 1997".
 

  SEC. 2. ONE DOLLAR COINS.
 
 
    (a) Color and Content.--Section 5112(b) of title 31, United States Code, is
  amended--
 
    (1) in the first sentence, by striking "dollar,"; and
 
    (2) by inserting after the fourth sentence, the following: "The dollar coin
  shall be golden in color, have a distinctive edge, have tactile and visual
  features that make the denomination of the coin readily discernible, be
  minted and fabricated in the United States, and have similar metallic,
  anticounterfeiting properties as United States clad coinage in circulation on
  the date of enactment of the Efficient Currency Act of 1997.".
 
    (b) Design.--Section 5112(d)(1) of title 31, United States Code, is
  amended--
 
    (1) in the third sentence, by striking "the dollar, half dollar," and
  inserting "half dollar"; and
 
    (2) by striking "The eagle" and all that follows through "Anthony." and
  inserting the following: "The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with
  Congress, shall select appropriate designs for the reverse and obverse sides
  of the dollar coin.".
 
    (c) Effective Date.--Before the date on which the Government inventory of
  Susan B. Anthony $1 coins is depleted, the Secretary of the Treasury shall
  place into circulation $1 coins authorized under section 5112(a)(1) of title
  31, United States Code, that comply with the requirements of subsections (b)
  and (d)(1) of that section 5112 (as amended by this section). The Secretary
  may include such coins in any numismatic set produced by the United States
  Mint before the date on which the coins are placed in circulation.
 
    (d) Increase Capacity.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall increase
  capacity at United States Mint facilities to a level that would permit the
  replacement of $1 Federal Reserve notes with $1 coins minted in accordance
  with section 5112 of title 31, United States Code, as amended by this Act.
 

  SEC. 3. CEASING ISSUANCE OF ONE DOLLAR NOTES.
 
 
    (a) In General.--Federal Reserve banks may continue to place into
  circulation $1 Federal Reserve notes in accordance with section 5115 of title
  31, United States Code, until Susan B. Anthony coins and coins minted in
  accordance with this Act and the amendments made by this Act total
  1,000,000,000 coins in circulation, at which time no Federal Reserve bank may
  order or place into circulation any $1 Federal Reserve note.
 
    (b) Exception.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Secretary of the
  Treasury shall produce only such number of $1 Federal Reserve notes as the
  Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System orders from time to time to
  meet the needs of collectors of that denomination. Such notes shall be issued
  by 1 or more Federal Reserve banks in accordance with section 16 of the
  Federal Reserve Act and sold by the Secretary, in whole or in part, under
  procedures prescribed by the Secretary.
 

  SEC. 4. REGULATORY AUTHORITY.
 
 
    The Secretary of the Treasury shall issue appropriate rules and regulations
  to carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act.
 
                                   ----------
 
----------------------------------------
Text of Digest by GRAMS (R-MN) on S. 1038
         Summary of the Efficient Currency Act of 1997
         [CR page S-7768, 25 lines]
 

                  Summary of the Efficient Currency Act of 1997
 
 
    New and Unique Coin: Section 2(a) of the bill authorizes production of a
  new dollar coin that (1) is golden in color, (2) has a distinctive edge, (3)
  has tactile and visual features that make the denomination of the coin
  readily discernible, and (4) has similar metallic anti-counterfeiting
  properties of U.S. clad coinage. This will make the dollar coin easily
  distinguishable from a quarter.
 
    Images on the Coin: Section 2(b) authorizes the Treasury Department to
  select new designs, in consultation with Congress, for the obverse and
  reverse sides of the dollar coin.
 
    Timetable for Circulation: It is expected that the mint will have to issue
  new Susan B. Anthony coins by September 1999. Section 2(c) of the bill
  requires that the Treasury Department must replace the Susan B. Anthony
  dollar coin with a new (and more usable) dollar coin before the mint's
  inventory of Susan B. Anthony coins are depleted.
 
    Termination of $1 Bill: The Efficient Currency Act effectively lets the
  public decide whether the Treasury Department should retain or terminate the
  dollar bill. Section 3(a) states that if the use of the new dollar coins
  dramatically increases so that there are at least one billion coins in
  circulation, then the dollar bill shall be terminated.



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