Senators Again Try To Replace Dollar Bill With Coin

by Ananth Baliga

WASHINGTON – Remember the Susan B. Anthony $1 coins of the 1970s? And the 1990s version – the Sacagawea coin? Consumer advocates and five senators think it’s time to give the $1 coin another chance.

But first — wipe out the dollar bill.

Eliminating the dollar bill in favor of the coin would save $13.8 billion over 30 years, consumer advocacy group Citizens Against Government Waste said Monday. At a Capitol Hill briefing, officials of the group said making a dollar note may be cheaper than a coin, but it lasts for approximately four years compared with 30 years for the coin, leading to substantial savings in printing and getting rid of old notes.

“It seems to me this one common sense remedy certainly won’t change the equation entirely. But even in this town, $5.5 billion or $13.8 billion is not chump change,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

McCain has introduced legislation that would improve the circulation of $1 coins, along with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Olka., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Mark Udall D-Colo, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“You have to phase out the dollar paper in order to make the coin successful,” said former Arizona representative Jim Kolbe.

The Government Accountability Office, a bipartisan congressional watchdog, has produced five reports in the past 20 years to support the transition to $1 coins. Its last report, in 2011, said the government could save $5.5 billion, a conservative estimate according to advocates.

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