Senate Democrats

Reid, Sununu Introduce Legislation to Boost Economy, Add Mining Jobs

Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 modeled after 50-state quarter program

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) have introduced a bill to create a new series of U.S. coins, modeled after the popular state quarters now being produced. The bipartisan legislation would create dollar coins with the images of all the U.S. Presidents, and gold bullion collectors’ coins with images of the First Ladies. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is co-sponsoring the measure.

“This bill will help the economy in so many ways,” said Reid. “It creates new dollar coins that will be both prized by collectors and useful for American businesses. It also creates new gold bullion coins that will be made from ore mined in Nevada and other places around the U.S. That will help boost the mining industry and create new jobs in rural areas. The new state quarters have already raised about $4 billion for our national treasury; I expect these new coins will be just as popular – and just as profitable.”

“The Presidential Coin Act is historic and patriotic legislation,” said Ensign. “It will make a significant contribution to the economy while creating great opportunities for coin collectors and history buffs. Americans will no doubt benefit from the infusion of these dollar coins into the marketplace.”

The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 is also designed to place the dollar coin in greater circulation in the U.S. economy. That would save taxpayer money by reducing the cost of keeping cash in circulation. Dollar bills have a lifespan of about 18 months, while coins can last for 30 years.

“Although the United States government currently issues a dollar coin, many Americans don’t know about the coin and don’t use it,” said Sununu. “This bill will get the dollar coin into people’s hands and pockets, in part by ensuring that it is easy to use for both businesses and consumers. Because millions of low-dollar transactions occur in our country every day, a widely circulated $1 coin has the potential to provide efficiency that could result in tremendous savings for the economy – savings that are passed on to consumers.”

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Places the images of four U.S. Presidents on the dollar coin each year, in the order of their service, until all are so honored, starting in 2007
  • Features the Statue of Liberty on the reverse side of the coin
  • Locates significant information, such as the date and the so-called mintmark, on the edge of the coin
  • Provides for the Sacagawea coin to continue to be issued during the Presidential Coin Program
  • Requires the federal government to use the dollar coin in all of its retail operations
  • Requires that dollar coins be available in convenient forms, including rolls and small bags, enabling businesses to use the coins easily
  • Takes steps to address problems created by the co-circulation of the Susan B. Anthony coin with new dollar coins
  • Creates a new half-ounce pure-gold bullion coin to honor presidential spouses, generate excitement about the series, and appeal to collectors and investors
  • Creates a new one-ounce pure-gold bullion with the image of the so-called “Indian Head” or “Buffalo” nickel – a popular design for investment
  • Calls for the issuing of newly designed pennies to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

The measure already has 18 co-sponsors in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a version of the bill last month.