During a class for my master’s degree, a professor was fond of reminding us that politics is a contact sport. He meant that metaphorically, but the point was direct. Politicians will do what they can to get their job done, regardless of the inside consequences.
Unfortunately, the contact sport has spilled out of the halls of congress into the mainstream. Regardless of whether the proposal has merit and the politician is proposing with good intension, the game no longer is about the substance but the team everyone is on.
S. 4326: 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act
For example, S. 4326, 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act, would allow the U.S. Mint to strike silver dollars to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the last Morgan Dollar and the 100th Anniversary of the first Peace Dollar. The bill does not limit the number of coins, and does it have an end date.
The bill is not a commemorative coin act. It says that “all coins minted under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.” The bill does not add surcharges to the coins’ sale, and the government keeps the seignorage.
Given the popularity of the Morgan and Peace Dollars, it would be logical to consider that the amount of seignorage earned from their sale would provide a good windfall for the government. Give the collectors something to excited about and pocket some change by doing so. A bill like this should be a no-brainer. Right?
I contacted an old friend that has survived the last 20 years on Capitol Hill. Aside from wondering why he was not receiving battle pay, we talked about pending legislation. When I asked about the 1921 Silver Dollar Coin Anniversary Act, he laughed at me.
“If it passes the Senate, the only way it will make past the door of the House would be if (someone) is sick.”
The “(someone)” is one of several members of Congress on one of the teams known to use constitutional procedures against the other team. They have objected to coin-related bills passed by the Senate because they revenue-generating measures. They cite Article I Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution (All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives;) to block bills passed by the Senate.
Since a member of the red team introduced S. 4326, the blue team will block the bill from being introduced in the House. Unless the Speaker of the House can convince these members to withdraw their objections, this bill will not pass.
Not all is lost. A version of the bill (H.R. 6192) was introduced in March by Rep Andy Barr (R-KY). If the red and blue teams play nicely together and pass this version, the U.S. Mint may be selling 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars next year.
H.R. 7995: To amend title 31, United States Code, to save Federal funds by authorizing changes to the composition of circulating coins, and for other purposes.
Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-NV) introduced H.R. 7995 in August. At this time, the Government Printing Office has not published the text of the bill. Judging by the title as introduced, the bill will require the U.S. Mint to change circulating coinage composition.
Without the text of the bill, it is impossible to judge its merits. I will see if this bill is worth discussing when the bill’s text is posted.