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Native American $1 Coin Act

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIVE AMERICAN $1 COIN ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 04, 2007)

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2358, the Native American $1 Coin Act, and urge its immediate passage.

The legislation before us is essentially identical to a bill that passed the House in June by a voice vote, with minor changes made by the other body. H.R. 2358 complements the Presidential $1 Coin Act that passed in the last Congress thanks to the hard work and leadership of the gentleman from Delaware (Mr. Castle) and the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney). Like that program and the very popular 50-State quarter program, it will provide an enormous educational opportunity for parents and teachers, while also recognizing the immense and important contributions of Native Americans to the history of the United States. Passage of this legislation also could save taxpayers more than half a billion dollars over the next decade.

When Congress passed the Presidential $1 Coin Act in December of 2005, it contained a requirement that a third of all dollar coins minted each year bear the design of the Sacagawea coin that first was issued in 2000. The requirement was intended to keep the image and the memory of Sacagawea in people's minds while the mint issues presidential dollars.

Unfortunately, through no fault of the design or its subject, there is no real demand for the dollar coin with an unchanging design. At the current rate of issue of presidential coins, the mint would have to make 300 to 350 million of the current design Sacagawea dollars every year, resulting in some $60 million of material and labor costs per year, not counting storage for the unused coins.

Under H.R. 2358, the current Sacagawea design would appear on the front of 20 percent of all dollar coins. Similar to the changing design of quarters and presidential dollars, the reverse of the Sacagawea coin would be different each year, honoring such contributions to American history as the Iroquois Confederacy, the Cherokee written language, the code talkers who served the U.S. Army so heroically in both world wars, and individuals such as Olympian Jim Thorpe.

Let me close by congratulating the lead sponsor of the legislation, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Kildee) and by thanking Chairman Frank for bringing the bill to the floor today. I urge passage of H.R. 2358, and I thank the gentleman from Oklahoma for his leadership on this issue.

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