While doing my monthly review of the numismatic-related political news for the Gold & Silver Political Action Committee, I came across a bill that seems to have missed the numismatic press. One reason it was missed might be that the provisions are buried in a larger bill and has a name that might not be as noticeable. However, there are two issues buried in a larger bill. The bill is as follows:
H.R. 5196: Unified Savings and Accountability Act (or USA Act)
Buried within the bill are two provision that may be of interest to collectors.
If passed, Section 203 would require that the U.S. Mint stop striking any coin that costs more to manufacture than its face value four years following the passage of this bill. Using current standards, the U.S. Mint would be required to stop producing one- and five-cent coins by late 2018 because they cost more than their face value to produce. One of the problems with this bill is what would happen if the price of copper and zinc, the drivers in the price of both coins, were to fall and the costs were reduced to below face value? Would the coins be struck again?
As the title suggests, Section 205 will replace the one-dollar Federal Reserve Note with the dollar coin. The section begins with requiring the Federal Reserve to “sequester” Susan B. Anthony dollars to remove them from circulation. There is a provision for their value as numismatic collectibles.
The plan to remove the $1 FRN is just to stop issuing the notes and replace them with coins as the notes come out of circulation after a one-year educational period. The Federal Reserve would continue to use the notes alongside the coins until 600 million coins are in circulation or for four years, whichever comes first. The bill allows the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to continue to print the $1 FRN for collectors.
Given the current state of congress, the likelihood of this bill passing is slim-to-none, and, as a friend liked to say, “Slim just left town.” Some of the other provisions of this bill might be introduced into an omnibus budget bill following the November elections, but it is doubtful that these sections will make it past this introduction.
Then again, who knows? Congress has surprised us in the past!