May 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
(Image courtesy of the National Parks Service)

Although it is not really a numismatic-related bill, the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act appears to be on track for passage in the Senate.

Essentially, the bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ former home in New Hampshire, as the “Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.” The change is significant in that it changes the funding for the staffing and maintenance of the site. It also will keep the site accessible for tourism.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens is known as the artist who co-conspired with President Theodore Roosevelt in his “pet crime” to redesign United States coinage. Before his death in 1907, Saint-Gaudens provided the design for the $20 Double Eagle and $10 Eagle gold coinage.

Saint-Gaudens’ legacy did continue after his death by his students Adolph A. Weinman, designer of the Walking Liberty half-dollar and Mercury dime, and James Earle Fraser, designer of the Buffalo Nickel.

S. 2863: National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Introduced: May 16, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — May 16, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S2863.

H.R. 965: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
Introduced: February 7, 2017
Summary: (Sec. 2) This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the "Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park."
Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. — Feb 7, 2017
Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 197. — Aug 25, 2017
Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Natural Resources. H. Rept. 115-277. — Aug 25, 2017
Mr. Thompson (PA) moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Oct 2, 2017
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Oct 2, 2017
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 965. — Oct 2, 2017
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. — Oct 2, 2017
Considered as unfinished business. — Oct 2, 2017
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 401 – 0 (Roll no. 545). — Oct 2, 2017
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Oct 2, 2017
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. — Oct 3, 2017
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably. — May 17, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR956.

April 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

The first of the month is when I usually report about the introduction or progress of numismatic-related legislation in congress for the previous month. For April 2018, there is nothing to report.

Thus far, the 115th Congress passed The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Pub. L. 115-68) which allows for a gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins to commemorate the American Legion in 2019.

There have been no authorizing laws passed for commemoratives after 2019.

Two bills have passed the House of Representatives and are waiting in committees in the Senate for action:

  • The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1235) would allow the minting of q gold $5, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar coins in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • The American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 770) would be a 14-year $1 coin program that would issue coins commemorating innovation and innovators representing each state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Just because these bills passed in the House does not mean the Senate will do anything about them. Both can die in committee without any consideration.

So that the record is complete, here are the numismatic-related bills introduced in the House of Representatives waiting in committee:

  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 579)
  • Duty First Act (H.R. 1582)
  • National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1683)
  • Cents and Sensibility Act (H.R. 2067)
  • Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2256)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (H.R. 2299)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 2317)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 3274)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4044)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (H.R. 4539)
  • National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 4732)
  • Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act (H.R. 5308)
  • To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold. (H.R. 5404)

Not to be outdone, here is the list for the Senate:

  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (S. 312)
  • Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (S. 759)
  • Duty First Act (S. 921)
  • United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 1021)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 1326)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1503)
  • President John F. Kennedy Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1568)
  • Muhammad Ali Commemorative Coin Act (S. 166)
  • 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Coin Act (S. 1718)
  • Plymouth 400th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act of 2017 (S. 2189)
  • American Innovation $1 Coin Act (S. 2399)

March 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

While Congress delves into the abyss of their usual folly, the numismatic industry went almost hysterical at the bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to create yet another quarters series to begin in 2021.

Not considering the topic, there is a fatigue over changing quarter designs. The 50 State Quarter Series was a success while economic times were good and the states were taking their responsibility for designing the quarters serious. Some states really missed out on good design and good choices that there are some quarters that should be melted and spared from our change.

And while there have been wonderful designs for the America the Beautiful quarters, the response has been anywhere from underwhelming to non-existent. Few people know the series exists and when it is pointed out to them there is a collective shrug of acknowledgment.

The other problem goes to the mouth-breathing aspect of the coverage in that the bill was just introduced into the House of Representatives, it is not the law. It is a long way from a bill being a law. If you forgot the process you can always rewatch the old Schoolhouse Rock video I’m Just a Bill.

For the record, I have no problem with honoring the Nineteenth Amendment and the women who made it possible. I would also have no problem with a coin program honoring the Fourteenth Amendment and the people involved in Civil Rights. This country can use a dose of education and if it can be done using coinage, then maybe I might reconsider my stance on the ever-changing coin designs.

At least David Ryder’s nomination was confirmed!

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
Considered by Senate. — Mar 21, 2018
Confirmed by the Senate by Voice Vote. — Mar 21, 2018
Nomination tracking information can be found at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

H.R. 5308: Women’s History and Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Quarter Dollar Coin Program Act
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 15, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 15, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR5308.

David J. Ryder Confirmed!

David J. Ryder, 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

During the latter portion of the Wednesday, March 22, 2018 session in the United States Senate, the nomination of David J. Ryder to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint was confirmed by a voice vote.

As the Senate was processing the nominations on the Senate Executive Calendar, Ryder’s name rose to the top of the list. When the clerk read the nomination and asked for commentary from the floor, the only statement was from Cory Booker (D-NJ). It is customary that a senator from the nominee’s home state to say something in support the nominee. Since there was no objection from the floor, the Senate moved to suspend the rules and pass the nomination by voice vote.

Previously, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) threatened to block the nomination because he felt that the Department of the Treasury did not respond to inquiries to his satisfaction. When it came time to follow through with the threat, Grassley was not even in the Senate chamber during the vote.

There was no comment offered by Grassley’s office.

After 2,629 days or 7 years, 2 months, and 13 days, our long nightmare is over. The U.S. Mint now has a permanent director!

Good luck Director Ryder.

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
Considered by Senate. — Mar 21, 2018
Confirmed by the Senate by Voice Vote. — Mar 21, 2018
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

The U.S. Mint Disappoints Congress

NOTE: This was written and queued for posting prior to the confirmation of David Ryder to become the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint.

Today’s “Dummy of the Day Award” goes to Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) (Official House of Representatives Photo)

Earlier this month, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) complained to the U.S. Mint that they did not answer an inquiry to his satisfaction. Mooney, like the rest of congress who does more for show than being constructive, went to the press in order to show his dissatisfaction.

In October, Mooney and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter to the U.S. Mint asking about what is being done to protect the integrity of U.S. coinage from counterfeiting. The letter contained a gold-plated tungsten American Gold Eagle coin. It was sent after the testimony of David Ryder during his confirmation hearing.

The letter was addressed to Acting Deputy Director David Moti (sic) and Randolph D. Alles, Director of the U.S. Secret Service.

The letter sent by Mooney and Lucas was sent to the U.S. Mint that was run by its fourth non-appointed, interim director since the resignation of Edmund Moy in January 2011. While the interim directors have the same power as political appointees, it is customary that the interim directors maintain the status quo until the Senate approves the president’s nomination.

The U.S. Mint’s response was written under the signatory of Acting Deputy Director David Motl. Motl, Motl’s response to the representative’s inquiry read exactly what can be expected from an interim appointee warming the seat. Basically, the letter said that the U.S. Mint is doing its job as defined by the law and the Acting Deputy Director is working to keep the agency going until a regular director can be approved.

Of course, these representatives did not like this response. They want the U.S. Mint to do something and even gave suggestions. There are two problems with the response that reads like an advertisement for a commercial service. First, if these representatives understood the division of responsibilities, the agency responsible for protecting the integrity of the money supply is the United State Secret Service. The U.S. Mint is the manufacturer of the money, the U.S. Secret Service is the police force that is responsible for protecting the money. One would think that members of Congress who have access to staff and a full-time research department would understand the roles of the various agencies.

Secondly, what would they want an acting director to do? If the acting director is there to make sure the bureau functions until a new director is appointed, then figure out why the U.S. Mint does not have a permanent director? If Mooney does not like the answer then why not take a walk to the other side of the capital and ask Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) why he is throwing a hissy fit and holding up the nomination of a qualified candidate that could legally answer the questions.

David Croft, Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint since 1-Feb-18 (U.S. Mint Photo)

Instead, Mooney would rather complain and pound his proverbial chest to make it look like he is doing something whereas to anyone who really looks at the situation sees him as foolish.

To add to the fun, the U.S. Mint has a new Acting Deputy Director. Because there is a limited amount of time that a government employee can serve in an “acting” role for an appointed position, David M. Croft has been appointed to the posting as of February 1, 2018. Prior to his appointment as Acting Deputy Director, Croft was the Mint’s Associate Director of Manufacturing. Croft becomes the fifth non-appointed “acting” director since Moy’s resignation.

If there are members of Congress that are not happy with the way the U.S. Mint is being run, they need to work out the problems which they are responsible. Mooney and Lucas should take the U.S. Mint leadership issue up with Grassley. Otherwise, they are doing nothing more than spitting into the wind.

Yet another quarter series?

Nineteenth Amendment

With so little happening in Congress regarding numismatic-related legislation, it should not be a surprise that I would become excited I am alerted that there was something to see.

The excitement wore off when I saw the bill that was introduced.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 5308 with the initial title of To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.

The text of the bill is not available, yet.

The Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote. It was the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. To amend the constitution, it passed the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, the Senate on June 4, 1919, then by 36 of the 48 states on August 18, 1920.

How do you create a design to commemorate the Nineteenth Amendment? Will there be one quarter per state? If so, what would be on Maryland’s quarter? Maryland rejected the amendment in 1920, the legislature ratified it in 1941, but the vote was not certified until 1958.

Then there is Mississippi that rejected the amendment in 1920 but passed it in 1984 becoming the 48th and last state to ratify the amendment (Alaska and Hawaii were not admitted to the union at the time and are ineligible to vote on the amendment).

While it is appropriate to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, maybe it should be a commemorative coin with the proceeds going to an organization like the League of Women Voters.

H.R. 5308: To amend title 31, United States Code, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue quarter dollars in commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Introduced: March 15, 2018
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Mar 15, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR5308.

February 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

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.

S. 2399: American Innovation $1 Coin Act
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Introduced: February 7, 2018
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Feb 7, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-S2399.

January 2018 Numismatic Legislation Review

Numismatically, the legislative news of the month is the hold placed on David Ryder’s nomination by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in what amounts to a hissy fit over the Department of the Treasury not answering his inquiries. The problem is that to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, it does not matter.

Currently, David Motl is the Acting Deputy Director and the highest-ranking official at the U.S. Mint. Providing department oversight of the U.S. Mint is Treasurer of the United States Jovita Carranza, who has been in office since June 19, 2017. From Mnuchin’s perspective, there is no urgency to have a permanent director when there are two people doing the job.

A source tells me that there is a strange dynamic between Mnuchin and Congress. While he seems to get along with members of the Senate Banking Committee, there are strains in relationships with other members including Grassley, who is the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. One source suggested that Mnuchin may feel that he does not have to answer to the Judiciary Committee since the Banking Committee has more direct oversight of Treasury.

Regardless of the issues, it is preventing Ryder’s nomination from moving forward.

H.R. 770: American Innovation $1 Coin Act
Sponsor: Rep. James A. Himes (D-CT)
Introduced: January 31, 2017
Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to mint and issue “American Innovation” $1 coins commemorating an innovation, an individual innovator or pioneer, or a group of innovators or pioneers from each state, each U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia. Treasury shall issue four coins per year, in alphabetical order by jurisdiction, until a coin has been issued for each jurisdiction.
Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. — Jan 31, 2017
Mr. Duffy moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. — Jan 16, 2018
Considered under suspension of the rules. — Jan 16, 2018
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 770. — Jan 16, 2018
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote. — Jan 16, 2018
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection. — Jan 16, 2018
Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 17, 2018
This bill can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-HR770.

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2018
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Jan 17, 2018
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Jan 17, 2018
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 596. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Jan 17, 2018
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

Update on Ryder Nomination

David J. Ryder at the hearing regarding his nomination to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint

As previously reported, the nomination of David J. Ryder to become the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint was returned to the President at the beginning of the second session of the 115th Congress. Under Senate Rules, the nomination neither confirmed nor rejected during the session can be returned on adjournment, unless the Senate agrees to allow the nomination to carry forward by unanimous consent or the majority leader makes the decision.

Apparently, Ryder’s nomination was returned to remove the hold placed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in December. Grassley filed an intent to object to the nomination because “the Department of the Treasury has failed to respond to a letter I sent on September 29, 2017, to a bureau within the Department seeking documents relevant to an ongoing investigation by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.” Grassley said that the objection was not intended to question Ryder’s credentials but as a punitive action against the Department of the Treasury for not answering his committee’s inquiry.

Ryder’s nomination was resubmitted by the President on January 8, 2018 (PN1355). As required, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. It is likely to be passed out of committee without a hearing. However, that does not mean Grassley or any other senator would not put a hold on the nomination.

Your government at work.

PN1355: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Jan 8, 2019
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1355.

November 2017 Numismatic Legislation Review

Most of the work in Congress has been on the tax bill (H.R. 1) and non-controversial legislation. The Senate has worked on reducing the number of presidential nominees on the Executive Calendar. Currently, there are 100 nominations waiting to be acted on and David J. Ryder, nominated to be the Director of the U.S. Mint, is 70th on the calendar, up from 126th last month.
 

PN1082: David J. Ryder — Department of the Treasury
Date Received from President: October 5, 2017
Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. — Oct 5, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. — Oct 24, 2017
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported favorably. — Nov 1, 2017
Reported by Senator Crapo, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, without printed report. — Nov 1, 2017
Placed on Senate Executive Calendar. Calendar No. 458. Subject to nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate. — Nov 1, 2017
This nomination can be tracked at http://bit.ly/115-PN1082.

Pin It on Pinterest