On April 1, 2008, the House of Representatives passed HR 2040, Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemorative Coin Act by a voice vote. If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the president, the bill authorizes the US Mint to issue a one-dollar silver commemorative coin to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in 2014.

Although the bill does not specify a design or a theme, the bill requires the Mint to undergo the same bureaucratic review by the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. It is possible that a different design could be used for the proof and uncirculated coins.

Sales of these coins will include a $10 surcharge that will be given to the United Negro College Fund.

HR 2040 was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in April 2007. In the year since its introduction, the bill gained 313 co-sponsors . Because of the number of bipartisan co-sponsors and the work of Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, to work with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the bill was brought to the floor without committee hearings. The forty minute debate included accolades to the people who worked on getting this bill to the floor including Rep. David Scott (D-GA).

Now the bill goes to the Senate for their consideration. The Senate may choose to act on the House version or may consider S. 1437 was introduced in May 2007 by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) with 13 cosponsors. It would be unlikely that the Senate will vote on their version since both versions are identical. Passing both versions would force the congress to form a conference committee to reconcile any differences and send it back to the chambers for up-or-down votes. That is too much work for an idea that should pass without further discussion.

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