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Remarks by Senator John McCain on the COINS Act


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following remarks at a briefing on the budgetary savings of modernizing U.S. Currency hosted by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and the Dollar Coin Alliance in Washington, D.C.:

"I want to thank The Dollar Coin Alliance, former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), and Citizens Against Government Waste for holding this event today. This event will bring further attention to the COINS Act, which is an important common sense policy tool that could save billions of taxpayer dollars and reduce the deficit without raising taxes or gutting our military.

"Just last month, I joined my colleagues Senators Harkin, Coburn, Enzi and Udall (CO) in re-introducing the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act -- COINS Act -- that would modernize our currency by moving from the costly $1 bill to a $1 coin over a four year period. With our Nation's debt now standing at $16.8 trillion, Congress must look at every area of the federal government, big or small, to save money. And this simple bipartisan bill will do just that -- save money.

"The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has studied this issue for over 20 years, producing five reports, all of which support the transition away from the $1 bill to the $1 coin. In their 2011 report, the GAO stated that "As in the past, GAO's analysis indicates that replacing the $1 note with a $1 coin would provide a financial benefit to the government if production of the $1 note ceased.' The GAO found that "replacing the $1 note with a $1 coin could save the government approximately $5.5 billion over 30 years.'

"The study that is being released here today has found that the cost savings over 30 years could be much greater. Economist Aaron Klein, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury notes that the 30 year cost savings could be $13 billion. Based on the actual savings that other countries have experienced when they modernized their currency, the savings that Mr. Klein has identified could in fact be very possible.

"For example, when Canada transitioned to their $1 coin in the late 80's, they realized a cost savings almost 10 times greater than originally estimated. While there may be some disagreement on the actual cost savings that could result, we can all agree that there are real savings to be found with the COINS Act.

"Besides Canada, almost all developed countries have moved forward with common sense currency modernization and realized real cost savings with public support. Other countries include Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Holland.

"In addition, the $1 coin is more durable -- by far out lasting the $1 bill. Dollar bills currently in circulation last only three years, where $1 coins last roughly 30 years. Basically, a single $1 coin can last as long as 17 dollar bills over the course of its lifetime.

"At a time when our military is being forced to reduce its ability defend against threats to our security because of sequestration, it makes sense to me that Congress would agree to make common sense steps like the COINS Act to reduce our debt. A four year transition from the $1 bill to the $1 coin could result in billions of dollars in real savings that we should all be able to support.

"Again, I want to thank Citizens Against Government Waste, the Dollar Coin Alliance, Economist Aaron Klein, and former Congressman Jim Kolbe for hosting this event today."

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