Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, has introduced a bill to reduce the deficit by billions by phasing out the $1 bill. The Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act calls for a transition from the dollar bill to the dollar coin to reduce government waste.
Schweikert said in a statement:
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.
Protecting taxpayer dollars has never been more critical. One area where Americans may be surprised to learn we can save money is in our currency. By making this transition from a dollar bill to a dollar coin, the U.S. will save $184 million a year and nearly $6 billion over 30 years.
Washington needs to learn to save money to save our future for our children and grandchildren. The COINS Act is a responsible way to trim our bloated deficit, and I encourage all of my colleagues to support this cost-saving legislation.
What the Coins Act Would Do
The COINS Act would require Federal Reserve Banks to stop issuing the $1 note 4 years after enactment of the legislation or when circulation of $1 coins exceeds 600 million annually – whichever comes first.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been advocating this change for more than 20 years, and in its latest report released this March, it found that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year by the continued use of the dollar bill.
By making the switch, it is estimated that the government would save an average of $184 million a year, a conservative $5.5 billion over 30 years.
Each year, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces around 4 billion $1 bills — nearly half of all paper currency made. And each year, more than 3 billion of these dollars are pulled from circulation, shredded, and sent to landfills. That is nearly 15.2 million pounds of paper currency every year.
Not only are dollar coins recyclable, they have an average circulation of 30 years. When you do the math, a single dollar coin can do the job of up to 17 dollar bills over the course of its lifetime.