Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) proposed legislation Wednesday to save $150 million by allowing the U.S. Mint to change the composition of coins.
The Iowa senator proposed the Currency Evolution Now to Save (CENTS) Act, which would give the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Mint the authority to change the composition of the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar as long as the changes to the coins do not impact their size or functionality. The changes would occur if they reduce the overall cost of minting the coins, which could save more than $150 million over the next ten years.
Sen. Ernst said in a press release Wednesday:
Iowa taxpayers are getting nickeled-and-dimed by the increasing costs of certain metals for producing coins. Right now, it costs hardworking taxpayers seven cents to make one nickel. Congress can fix this, and they need to. That’s why I’ve put forward this commonsense bill that will allow the Mint the flexibility to use cheaper materials to produce certain coins, without changing the size or functionality of them.
The U.S. Mint called on Congress in its 2019 fiscal year budget justification to give it authority to change the composition of coins to save taxpayer money. Further, a March 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended Congress providing the U.S. Mint with that authority.
Sen. Ernst’s office also released a short video explaining how her legislation could save Iowans and Americans millions of dollars through her CENTS bill.
In April, Sen. Ernst proposed the End-of-Year Responsibility Act, which would prevent federal agencies from engaging in “billion-dollar” binge spending at the end of every federal agencies’ fiscal year.
“Washington should be looking for ways to save by canceling or delaying unnecessary expenses, rather than encouraging bureaucrats to splurge on end-of-year wish lists,” Ernst said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.