Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act last week, which would require the Federal Reserve Banks to end production of the $1 paper currency within four years of passage.
"At a time when we are staring down a record-breaking $1.3 trillion deficit, any commonsense measure that cuts billions needs to be given serious consideration. That is exactly what the COINS Act will do and why I am introducing it," Schweikert, a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, said in a statement.
In a report published in March, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that replacing paper money with coins would save the federal government $5.5 billion over the next three decades.
But, like every idea that makes its way to Capitol Hill, it's facing stiff opposition.
In the Senate, Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry, a Democrat, and Scott Brown, a Republican, introduced the Currency Efficiency Act, aimed at preserving the paper dollar bill. The reason to stick with the paper status quo, they said, is a simple lack of demand: Millions of dollars worth of the new $1 coins are already sitting in storage.
"The $1 coin is misleading because it costs taxpayers so much more," Brown said, according to The Hill newspaper. "In fact, we have over $1 billion worth of extra $1 coins sitting idle in vaults, and that's set to double over the next several years."
It should be noted here, however, that Crane & Co, the company contracted to supply the paper used to make American currency, is based in Massachusetts.
- David Schweikert