Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) today was pleased to see the passage of H.R. 5512, the Coin Modernization and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2008, a Democratic bill that contained many provisions authored by Roskam in H.R. 4036, the Cents and Sensibility Act of 2007. Roskam's specific provisions, which passed in the United States House of Representatives today, will directly save the American taxpayer $1 billion dollars over the next decade. Roskam released the following statement:
"If the American people want a simple example of how the government wastes their hard earned tax dollars they don't need to look any further than the loose change in their pocket. As the costs to produce the penny surpassed what the penny is worth, Congress and the U.S. Mint have done nothing - until today.
"At 1.7 cents per penny, Congress' inaction has cost the American taxpayer millions of dollars. By merely changing the metallic composition of the penny, my provisions will directly save taxpayers more than $1 billion over the next decade.
"Congress today took a step in the right direction by reining in one of the billions of dollars in wasteful government spending programs. Albeit a small step, it marks a common sense solution that will save the hard-earned dollars of Illinois families."
Summary of H.R. 5512:
H.R. 5512 would require the Secretary of Treasury to prescribe the weight and composition of certain U.S. coins, including the dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and penny. Under current law, the weight and composition of these coins is prescribed statutorily.
H.R. 5512 would require the Secretary to take certain factors into consideration when determining the weight and composition of the aforementioned coins. Specifically, the Secretary would be required to consult with merchants who would be affected by the change. The Secretary would be required to consider the effect on vending machines and commercial coin processing equipment in order to ensure that any new coins would not interfere or interrupt existing coin acceptance equipment.
Finally, H.R. 5512 would require the secretary to produce a one cent coin comprised primarily of steel within 270 days of the enactment of this legislation. The bill would require that the steel 1-cent coin be treated to give the coin the same copper appearance as one cent coins produced currently.