While Congress struggles to find common ground on our nation’s deficit, there’s a bipartisan delegation of senators from five states working on one common-sense budget savings proposal: eliminating the dollar bill in favor of the dollar coin and saving taxpayers $4.5 billion without raising taxes or cutting a single program.
The Currency Optimization Innovation, and National Savings Act, which I introduced last week with my colleagues Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), has the endorsement of business leaders, former directors for the U.S. Mint and members of Congress. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s own watchdog, has recommended the move to the dollar coin nine times. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force called it “a simple, common sense measure” that would address the country’s growing federal deficit.
Dollar coins are 100 percent recyclable while dollar bills generate an enormous amount of waste. Billions of dollar notes are shredded and sent to landfills each year, while a single dollar coin would replace 17 dollar bills in its lifetime — and then be recycled to replace 17 more.
We believe the COINS Act is a common-sense proposal that starts down the right track toward addressing our country’s deficit. The GAO calculated at least $4.5 billion in savings for taxpayers — but the Canadian experience indicates we can do better. When our northern neighbors made the switch, savings totaled 10 times the original estimate. In fact, the dollar coin was so popular in Canada, the government there has since introduced a two-dollar coin.
We’ve seen many creative ideas in an attempt to generate savings, and it’s obvious that Washington has to find a solution to fix the debt. The dollar coin is one proposal that can be a part of the solution without raising taxes or cutting programs. Modernizing from the dollar bill to the dollar coin is a proven, common-sense idea that gives Congress an easy way to generate significant savings.
It’s not often that we successfully reach across the aisle to find substantial savings for taxpayers. The COINS Act is a bipartisan attempt to move this country in a better direction. It’s time we step up and do what’s right by embracing the dollar coin to help fix the debt. Join us in support of the dollar coin, a solution we can all agree on.