Former Reps. Tim Penny (D-MN) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) – Washington Examiner: “Dollar coin: Change that could help us achieve a ‘Moonshot’”

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Former Reps. Tim Penny (D-MN) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) – Washington Examiner: “Dollar coin: Change that could help us achieve a ‘Moonshot’”

“Meeting our Greatest Challenges.” That is the title of the president’s final budget, which outlines an ambitious agenda for the president and Congress in Obama’s final year in office.

Regardless of what your position may be on some of the proposed initiatives, it is indisputable that we cannot attempt to meet our greatest challenges without having a strategy on how to adequately pay for them. And many of the president’s goals in this year’s budget call for a huge chunk of change – many of which could be fully paid-for by taking a simple step to modernize our low-dollar currency.

One of the proposed initiatives is an important cause that transcends politics, the president’s “Moonshot” effort to cure cancer. President Obama dedicated part of his State of the Union address to announce a White House mission to make strides in cancer research, all to be led by Vice President Biden, who recently lost his son to the terrible disease. Cancer is unfortunately a disease that impacts almost every American family and the president and the vice president have devoted their last year in office to doing something about it.

To get the mission kicked into gear, the president has called for $1 billion to start this effort, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and increased funding for cancer related research.

By taking the step to modernize our one-dollar currency, which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended ten times and nearly every other major economy in the world has already done, we could pay the initial “Moonshot” investment 13 times over. If we as a nation move forward with currency modernization, we would generate up to $13.8 billion in savings for the government.

The dollar coin would save the country billions — and will do so without raising a single tax or cutting a government program. And two-thirds of Americans support replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin when informed of the potential government savings. So, the question to Congress is, what are we waiting for?

If it’s not for an investment in the search to find a cure for cancer, there are numerous other programs that should be funded this year and need the savings generated from the dollar coin. Supporting Computer Science for All (a $4 billion investment); Incentivizing Justice Reform with the 21st Century Justice Initiative (a $5 billion investment); and, Countering Russian Aggression and Supporting European Allies (a $4.3 billion investment).

Currency modernization has strong support in Congress and is currently included in a package of budget savings reforms based on GAO’s recommendations to eliminate waste and duplicative spending in the federal government. The Unified Savings and Accountability Act (USA Act) would implement at least $57 billion in cost savings throughout the federal government.

This bipartisan effort to create these savings are led by Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., Congressman Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The savings generated by passing the USA Act, including moving our country to a dollar coin, would either create significant budget savings or fund critical programs that Congress must address this year, including: the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill and the Higher Education Act Reauthorization bill, both of which are topics of discussion for the year.

It’s common sense. If we are serious about fiscal responsibility, about investing in our future — cancer research, innovation, education, healthcare, security — and saving American taxpayers billions in the process, we must modernize our currency and capture the billions in savings provided by the dollar coin.

Representatives Tim Penny and Jim Kolbe, Honorable Co-Chairs of the Dollar Coin Alliance.

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Contact: Bryan DeAngelis