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Super Committee Members Square Off on Bills Vs. Coins

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. John Kerry opposes a bill to phase out the $1 bill in favor of the coin version, which would endanger the Massachusetts company that provides the paper for the nation's currency.

But the increased focus on the federal deficit this spring gave the coalition — dubbed the Dollar Coin Alliance — new hope, which was augmented by a report from the Government Accountability Office that said phasing out the $1 bill could save the government $5.5 billion over the next 30 years.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have long opposed making the coin the sole $1 product, citing its weight (just over 8 grams) and the public’s persistent attachment to paper currency. But Congress can mandate the end of the $1 bill, and the Dollar Coin Alliance is pressuring lawmakers to make the change.

The group has spent more than $390,000 lobbying Capitol Hill since December. Crane has spent only about $20,000 on federal lobbying this year, according to lobbying disclosure reports.

“At a time when the super committee is looking for everything they can find for savings, here is something that doesn’t cut Grandma’s program and doesn’t raise taxes,” said former GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona — the country’s largest supplier of copper, used in all U.S. coins. Kolbe introduced similar legislation at least five times throughout his career and now serves as a spokesman for the coalition. “The legislation by the two Massachusetts Senators ... is defiantly done with Crane paper in mind,” he added.

Correction: Sept. 27, 2011

An earlier version of this story misstated the co-sponsors of a bill that seeks to phase out the $1 bill.

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