I really want to say something pithy in this month’s legislative update, but nothing comes to mind. It is a situation where there is both a lot and a little going on. There is a lot of talk coming from Capitol Hill but there is little else. The number of bills and resolutions have reduced.
To judge the activity of Congress, I use a few sites to send alerts when one of my senators of the representative of my congressional district does something that registers legislatively. Most of the alerts are for votes with the occasional introduction of a bill or being added as a co-sponsor to other bills. In my unscientific view of what these people have been doing since the opening of the second session of the 115th Congress, the answer appears to be “not much.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) did cause a little numismatic stir when he introduced the American Innovation $1 Coin Act. Murphy wants to add a $1 coin for each state, territory, and the District of Columbia to honor a significant innovation, an innovator, or a group of innovators. For example, Tennessee could consider honoring the work in Oak Ridge; Florida could consider honoring Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson; while New Jersey would likely honor Thomas Edison.
Even if it is a good idea, the program will be a failure as long as Congress does nothing to ensure dollar coins are circulated. The only way to ensure dollar coins circulate is to stop issuing the one-dollar note. Given that Congress has a hard time passing budget and spending bills, I doubt they would do anything to change the monetary system, regardless of the savings that have been projected.
On a lighter note, David Ryder’s nomination to become the next director of the U.S. Mint is still on hold while Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pouts from his Senate office.