Two US senators have introduced a bill that, if passed, would see the abolishment of the $1 US banknote.
Democratic senator Tom Harkin and Republican senator John McCain introduced the legislation last week calling for $1 banknotes to be replaced with $1 coins.
“By moving from the costly dollar bill to the dollar coin, we can save real money and show the American taxpayer that we are serious about cutting spending in Washington,” McCain said.
According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office in March last year, the US government could save approximately $5.5 billion over 30 years if the denomination undergoes the switch.
One-dollar coins already exist in the US. In 2005, the US Congress mandated that the Mint “make $1 coins with the likenesses of the presidents, four each year between 2007 to 2016.” However, the American public did not accept the coins with as much fervor as the government had hoped, said the Wall Street Journal.
“The trouble so far: most Americans don’t want dollar coins churned out by the U.S. Mint. More than 40% of the coins that are produced are returned to the government unwanted, the Treasury said late last year,” they reported this week. “And U.S. government vaults already hold 1.4 billion of them — enough to meet current levels of demand for a decade.”
In December, the Obama administration even went so far as to curtail production of $1 coins due to lack of public enthusiasm over the project. Currently, the Mint only produces enough $1 coins to cater to the collectors market.
Senators McCain and Harkin said the American public simply wasn’t accustomed to using the coins yet. Their Senate bill “mandates that the Federal Reserve perform ‘outreach and education’ to help get American businesses and consumers used to the gold-colored coins.”
The bill also sets a four-year deadline to stop producing paper dollars, reported the Wall Street Journal.