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Ernst’s ‘Two Cents’: Use Cheaper Metals to Make Coins to Save Iowa Taxpayers Millions

With Washington losing money making money, the Iowa Senator proposes legislation to reduce costs by allowing the U.S. Mint to use less expensive material for coins

Click here or on the image above to watch a Squeal TV episode on the CENTS Act.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) continues to make Washington “squeal,” this time calling on Congress to help save over $150 million of taxpayer money by allowing the U.S. Mint to modify the composition of certain coins.

“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,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

The Currency Evolution Now To Save (CENTS) Act would give the Treasury Department, specifically the U.S. Mint, the authority to change the composition of the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar coins if these changes save taxpayer dollars and do not impact the coins’ size or functionality. These changes would happen under the conditions that (1) the changes reduce the overall cost of minting the coin and (2) the changes do not affect the diameter, weight, and functionality of the coin. This could save more than $150 million over 10 years.

In their Fiscal Year 2019 budget justification, the U.S. Mint requested that Congress give it the authority to change the composition of coins in order to save taxpayer money. In addition, a March 2019 watchdog report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended Congress consider providing the U.S. Mint with that authority.

For a one-page summary on the CENTS Act click here.