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Rep. Stivers Re-Introduces the Cents and Sensibility Act

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Washington, April 6, 2017 | comments
Today, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) reintroduced the Cents and Sensibility Act. The bipartisan legislation lowers the cost of producing pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters by ensuring they are minted with steel instead of minerals imported from outside the United States. Representatives Joyce Beatty (D – OH) and Pat Tiberi (R – OH) signed on as original co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) reintroduced the Cents and Sensibility Act.  The bipartisan legislation lowers the cost of producing pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters by ensuring they are minted with steel instead of minerals imported from outside the United States. Representatives Joyce Beatty (D – OH) and Pat Tiberi (R – OH) signed on as original co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation.

“This legislation is a common-sense solution to lower the cost of minting our coins,” Stivers said. “Not only does this save taxpayer dollars in the production of the coins, it will also allow American steel to be used in production that can be manufactured in many of our communities.”

Since 2006, due to the rising cost of materials and labor, the manufacturing of some denominations of coins has become unprofitable.  Of the coins currently in circulation today, the cost of producing pennies and nickels is greater than the actual face value of the coins. 

Currently, pennies are made of copper and zinc; while nickels, dimes and quarters are made of copper and nickel. A majority of the copper, zinc and nickel used to make these coins are imported from Canada. Stivers legislation would require all four coins be made of American steel in the future, with the penny dipped in copper.  The appearance of the coins would not change, just the materials used to make the coins.

Both pennies and nickels cost more to mint than the face value of the coins.  According to the most recent report released by the U.S. Mint, it costs about 1.5 cents to make a penny and 6.3 cents to produce a nickel. The dime and quarter both cost less to produce than the face value of the coins.

Studies have attempted to quantify potential cost savings from altering the metal composition of coins.  For example, a study by Navigant Consulting reported that the U.S. Government could save approximately $2 billion over 10 years in metal costs alone by changing the composition of the nickel, dime, and quarter to steel, but did not examine the effect of similar changes to the penny.

This legislation is endorsed by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

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