After posting last month’s Numismatic Legislation Review, someone reminded me that politicians submit bills they know will never be considered. Political watchers call these “vanity bills.” Members of Congress submit vanity bills to have their names published to show the folks at home that they are doing something.
Submitting a bill is easy. Members can develop an idea, format it in the appropriate form, and press a button on their computers to send it to the clerk. Aside from having a standard format, the House of Representatives published instructions on submitting numismatic bills.
Members do not write the bills. Interest groups promoting a cause will write the bill text for the member or written by a staff member.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) submitted a bill to create a commemorative coin program for Cesar Chavez. The Arizona-born Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association to organize farmworkers. Considering the ethnicity of many farmworkers, honoring Chavez will not be popular with certain members of Congress. Even though this bill has almost no chance of passing, Gosar can go home to Arizona and say that he tried.