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Renewed Push to Ban $1 Bill in Favor of Coin

(WGGB/CNN) – There is a renewed push on Capitol Hill to phase out the dollar bill in favor of dollar coins. This comes after a recent report from former Treasury official Aaron Klein that argues the switch could potentially save the Federal Government $13.8 billion over 30 years. That’s up from just about $5 billion from a previous report.

A bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act. They include Democrats Tom Harkin and Mark Udall, as well as Republicans John McCain and Tom Coburn. The bill aims to “improve the circulation of $1 coins, to remove barrier to the circulation of such coins, and for other purposes.”

“With our nation’s debt now standing at $16.8 trillion, Congress must look at every area of the federal government, big or small, to save money,” McCain said this week. “And this simple bipartisan bill will do just that — save money.”

Opponents of the bill claim that the transition to the dollar coin would be too costly in the short term, as conversions would need to be made for things like vending machines and cash registers. They also say Americans wouldn’t use the coins because they are too heavy and inconvenient.

According to the Government Accountability Office, Canada and Britain found that once paper notes were taken out of circulation, public resistance dissipated within a few years. They say the same would happen in the US if the dollar bill were taken out of circulation.

The US is one of only a few western nations still using paper dollars.

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