House lawmakers unveil bill to change coin composition

House Democrats have sponsored legislation to change the metal content of coins, outraged that it costs a dime to make a nickel.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Domestic and International Monetary Policy Subcommittee Chairman Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., are sponsors of the bill that would give authority to the Treasury Department to change the composition of coins issued by the U.S. Mint to less expensive materials.

The two estimate that by changing the composition of the penny and nickel, the federal government could save more than $100 million annually. Another $300 million could be saved if similar changes were made to the half-dollar, quarter and dime.

"The financial resources of the federal government are limited, and it is rare when we have the opportunity to make a simple legislative fix with the potential to save the taxpayers so much. We should take full advantage of this opportunity and pass this legislation in an expeditious manner," Gutierrez said.

The rise in the cost of metals has contributed greatly to coin costs. Since March 2003, the price of copper and nickel has increased 300 percent and the cost of zinc has grown by 450 percent. Pennies consist mostly of zinc with a copper-plated surface. Nickels are made of an alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel.

Frank's staff said it costs the government 1.7 cents to make a penny and 10 cents to make a nickel.

The measure would require a public comment period before bidding to hear on alternative compositions of the coins. The bidding process on materials would be competitive and Gutierrez said his panel would have tough oversight of the process.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.