With the economic crisis, failing of industries, the fighting of two wars, and partisan bickering, some members of congress has found time to author and submit bills to authorize the striking of commemorative coins. Many of these bills have merit, but the timing is in question.
For the 111th Congress, the House Committee on Financial Services set a rule that requires a coin bill to be co-sponsored by 75-percent of the members. Considering that there are two open seats, the committee is requiring that the bill have 324 cosponsors. Currently, no coin bill has that many sponsors. I am sure as the session continues, there will be some movement on a few of these bills. There are no similar rules in the Senate.
Here is a rundown of the commemoratives legislation that have been introduced in congress:
H.R. 255: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Introduced by Rep. Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) was introduced on January 7, 2009. If passed, the bill should raise more than $5 million that would benefit the NASA Family Assistance Fund, the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Educational (D.R.E.M.E.) Science Literacy Foundation, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum.
H.R. 621 and S. 451: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the establishment of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Introduced by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) in the House on January 21, 2009 and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate on February 23, 2009. If passed, the potential $3.5 million paid in surcharges will be given to the Girl Scouts of America.
H.R. 1177 and S. 455: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition of 5 United States Army 5-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry “Hap” Arnold, and Omar Bradley, alumni of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to coincide with the celebration of the 132nd Anniversary of the founding of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.. Introduced by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) in the House on February 25, 2009 and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) in the Senate on February 23, 2009. If all of the proposed coins sold out, the $12.25 million in surcharges will be paid to the Command and General Staff College Foundation.
H.R. 1195 and S. 483: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of Mark Twain. Introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) in the house and by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) in the Senate on February 25, 2009. The potential $8.5 million in surcharges will be divided up between the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut; he Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, California; the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, New York; and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.
H.R. 1209: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the Medal of Honor in 1861, America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States, to honor the American military men and women who have been recipients of the Medal of Honor, and to promote awareness of what the Medal of Honor represents and how ordinary Americans, through courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism, can challenge fate and change the course of history or the short title of Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009. Introduces by Rep. Chris Carney (D-PA) on February 26, 2006 and currently with 203 sponsors. If passed, the potential $8.5 million in surcharges would be paid to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
S. 653: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the bicentennial of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Introduces by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) on March 19, 2009. The potential $8.5 million in surcharges will be paid to the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.
All bills introduced in the House of Representatives have been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. Those introduced in the Senate are referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.