Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 28, 2015

McCain Pushes for Dollar Coins to Relieve Military Sequester

The search continues to find more spare change in the government’s couch cushions.

Sen. John McCain on Monday urged a switch to dollar coins to help mitigate the effects of the defense sequester.

“At a time when our military is being forced to reduce its ability defend against threats to our security because of sequestration, it makes sense to me that Congress would agree to make common sense steps like the COINS Act to reduce our debt,” the Arizona Republican said. “A four year transition from the $1 bill to the $1 coin could result in billions of dollars in real savings that we should all be able to support.”

McCain was appearing at an event hosted by Citizens Against Government Waste and the Dollar Coin Alliance to promote bipartisan legislation that he’s co-sponsored to phase out the dollar bill in favor of dollar coins. Not surprisingly, he linked it to his push to soften the effect of automatic budget cuts hitting the Defense Department.

Former Rep. Jim Kolbe, also a Republican from Arizona, is the honorary co-chairman of the Dollar Coin Alliance, a mix of budget groups, trade associations, transit agencies and other interested parties.

“As Congress continues to look for ways to reduce the government’s deficit, we can’t afford to ignore the $13.8 billion that we’d save through currency reform,” Kolbe said. “The dollar coin saves us billions without raising a single tax or cutting a single program.”

The Government Accountability Office has long said there would be significant cost savings from the transition, but there’s an unending lobbying battle behind the scenes, with paper interests and mining companies taking opposite sides. The same is true of lawmakers protecting home-state business (senators from mining states have long disagreed with those from, say, Massachusetts).

That was the case when Roll Call covered the story back in 2011, with then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., calling for the opposite approach, proposed the termination of the program to mint dollar coins.

There’s also the argument about how well the public will adjust, a point that Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., said in a Roll Call opinion piece last year.

“Why switch to dollar coins if nobody wants them? Only in Washington would someone propose expanding a government-sponsored social experiment that has already failed so miserably,” Connolly wrote.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s party.

Comments (87)

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  1. NorthboroughDan

    July 22, 2013
    4:53 p.m.

    The equivalent of the dollar coin is readily accepted in Europe and Canada. The only reason our dollar coin fails is because the dollar bill still exists. Kill the damn dollar bill already, and kill the penny while you are at it.

    • Suprsvc01

      July 24, 2013
      9:37 a.m.

      While you’re at it, why not just kill all hard currency and we’ll conduct all our financial transactions electronically. Then all we have to do is give the gubmint our account numbers and passwords and they can just take what they want… oh wait, NSA already has that info. Never mind, let’s just have everyone’s income direct deposited into the US Treasury and let ‘them’ give us the stuff they think we need to survive. That would do away with the need for all financial transactions and eliminate the need for banks, mortgage companies, Wall Street, accountants, tax lawyers, the Treasury, Fannie/ Freddie, the IRS and a host of other federal, state & local agencies. We’d save a boat load of money. Financial crisis solved, back to Dancing With The Stars.
      /sarc off

  2. Jeff

    July 23, 2013
    10:27 a.m.

    The reason people don’t use dollar coins is because they never come back in change. If they were actually in real circulation, people would use them. The reason they’re not in circulation is because people are used to dollar bills, so they don’t think to even ask for anything else when stocking their tillers.

    Kill the dollar bill already, and we’ll make the transition quickly enough.

    • Klawnet

      July 23, 2013
      10:02 p.m.

      Yeah, that’s what they said about the metric system. We can FORCE people to obey!


      • navydave

        July 24, 2013
        12:08 a.m.

        We are on our way to the metric system, but know nothing luddites can’t see that. But notice your speedometer and your toolbox. Once you learn what a meter is and what’s a liter the rest will be easy.

        • Henry Bowman

          July 24, 2013
          8:16 a.m.

          They’ve been doing that for decades. Both measurements are on the gallon of milk you buy every week, so QUICK! HOW MANY LITERS IS A GALLON?

          Did you answer correctly? Well that’s about how well it’s working.

  3. Clifford Johnson

    July 23, 2013
    10:33 a.m.

    Whenever the Treasury mints a $1 coin, it gains $1 minus the production
    cost–just as the Federal Reserve now garnishes $1 in assets for every $1 bill
    it issues, minus the printing cost. The transfer of these face-value profits in
    issuing all $1 denominations, from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury, will
    result in gains VASTLY in excess of those reported by the GAO, which are taken
    as true by the proponents of S. 1105. In other words, the case for the change
    to a $1 coin is FAR stronger than that which is being made by the bill’s
    sponsors and advocates. In particular, there will be prompt multi-billion
    dollar gains, rather than the predicted start-up losses.

    The difference is the subject of a lawsuit seeking findings of
    misrepresentation against the Treasury and GAO, now pending in the Ninth
    Circuit. See the articles “How The One Dollar Coin Can Cure The Economy” at,
    and “Federal Court Affirms Sweeping ‘Bully Pulpit’ Government Right to Lie,” at

  4. Freehopingtostayfree

    July 23, 2013
    10:58 a.m.

    It costs a fortune to change a bill to a coin. It’s like changing a company logo. It costs millions. All the machinery currently geared toward a bill will have to be changed to a coin. Will it create jobs or just push more companies out of business. I’d really like to know who in Washington gains in this deal.

    • Suprsvc01

      July 24, 2013
      9:06 a.m.

      You’re exactly right. Follow the money.

  5. aniptofar

    July 23, 2013
    9:45 p.m.

    Nitwit…. or just senility?

    • Rick2340

      July 23, 2013
      9:58 p.m.


  6. aniptofar

    July 23, 2013
    9:47 p.m.

    How many people carry coins????

    • Pepe Le Pew

      Aug. 27, 2013
      7:18 p.m.

      I carry a few Canadian Loonies a day In Canada

  7. T Rellis

    July 23, 2013
    10:06 p.m.

    Two days ago I asked my wife if she thought Mcain had had a stroke. Now I know.

  8. Mr. B

    July 23, 2013
    10:09 p.m.

    Why do congressmen (and women) waste time on things like dollar coins, mail delivery and soda sizes when they should be concentrating on freeing up the economy, strengthening the dollar and protecting our borders? Their jobs are not that hard! Their micromanaging and nagging just makes things worse.

    • Suprsvc01

      July 24, 2013
      9:10 a.m.

      Because it’s much safer to nibble at the edges and talk about the problems than it is to be bold and charge head on directly at them. Bottom line is the people running (or is it ruining) the country are cowards and need desperately to be shown the door (whether that door is with or without bars is in some cases still up for debate).

    • Sally

      Aug. 1, 2013
      3:40 p.m.

      Mail delivery? I’m sorry, but the USPS employs a lot of fine people, who deserve better than what Congress has done to their employer.

    • right_on

      Aug. 2, 2013
      11:39 p.m.

      They desperately try to find things to do to justify their existence in office.

  9. Pardonme

    July 23, 2013
    10:10 p.m.

    This man opens his mouth and nothing but garbage spills out. The press then rushes in and furiously wraps it in newsprint.

  10. rebekahhuang

    July 23, 2013
    10:20 p.m.

    I’m so sad I send this guy money when he ran for president….

    • Henry Bowman

      July 24, 2013
      8:13 a.m.

      I feel so ashamed of voting for him that I’ll probably vote third party from now on…

  11. GarandFan

    July 23, 2013
    10:20 p.m.

    If Washington DC, and ALL it’s inhabitants were to disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow morning……………would they REALLY be missed?

  12. mouell

    July 23, 2013
    10:46 p.m.

    You mean like the failed Susan B. Anthony dollar? Or maybe you mean the fail Sacajawea dollar? You sir, are stuck on stupid.

  13. mouell

    July 23, 2013
    10:49 p.m.

    I recall living in Europe in the 80’s. Want change for a ten? You get three two-dollar bills and four Susan B. Anthony coins. They hoisted that garbage on the folks living overseas…

    • Sally

      Aug. 1, 2013
      3:41 p.m.

      I love dollar coins, myself.

  14. Wallythedog

    July 23, 2013
    11:07 p.m.

    Susan B. Sacajawea? How about we put McCain back in the seat of an A4- Skyhawk on point him towards Hanoi.

  15. savage24

    July 23, 2013
    11:11 p.m.

    Is McAmnesty trying to reinvent the wheel again? Liberalism is a mental disease and he has a very serious case of it.

    • Sally

      Aug. 1, 2013
      3:39 p.m.

      McCain is no liberal.

      • savage24

        Aug. 1, 2013
        3:48 p.m.

        Please tell me what he is and what he stands for. How much farther to the left can you get when you had and have friends like Teddy Kennedy and Upchuck Schumer?

  16. ctmom

    July 23, 2013
    11:36 p.m.

    I wonder who McCain thinks should be on the dollar coin?

    • Suprsvc01

      July 24, 2013
      9:28 a.m.

      Why Barry Soetero of course. He would assume his now infamous chin-in-the-air Mussolini pose adorned with a gilded crown of laurel and a flowing shoulder draped bust reminiscent of some of antiquity’s other ‘great’ leaders (like Ceasar Augustus).

  17. firespirit3

    July 23, 2013
    11:40 p.m.

    Somebody call the home and tell them McCain got loose again plzzzzz!!!!!

  18. Twoiron

    July 23, 2013
    11:45 p.m.

    I think the VC brainwashing he got in The Hanoi Hilton has finally kicked in.

    Did you see where Obama is saying McCain is the long lost negotiating partner for the Libs in the Senate?

    Someone get the guys in white suits with the nets.

  19. navydave

    July 24, 2013
    12:19 a.m.

    A paper dollar lives about 8 years I have read in use. We see coins from Roman times. But why stop with just a dollar coin? Why not five or twenty dollar coins? At the rate our economy crashing we might soon need 100 or 500 dollar coins like many other countries have. They would come in handy when bread is a thousand dollars a 453.59g

  20. Winslow

    July 24, 2013
    12:33 a.m.

    McCain couldn’t fly an airplane and he can’t steer the ship of state either.
    Someone tell him, time is up!
    Get out of the Senate and out of our lives!

  21. puhiawa

    July 24, 2013
    1:31 a.m.

    Say. That is a new idea. Only been around since 1776. Like McCain.

  22. Kel-Tec PF-9

    July 24, 2013
    6:57 a.m.

    Why does this guy keep escaping from the nursing home?!?

  23. SmarterEnu

    July 24, 2013
    7:42 a.m.

    In Canada we call them loonies and twonies. Makes for heavier pockets, devalues the buck to a ‘coin’. Lots of bogus European cheap coins used as fraudulent substitutes in vending machines. Good luck!

  24. Chris Morris

    July 24, 2013
    8:44 a.m.

    Now that’s gonna be really popular. Carrying dollar coins; WOW!!

  25. Suprsvc01

    July 24, 2013
    9:05 a.m.

    Now if he’s talking about switching from the current worthless paper currency to something with real value (like silver or gold) then I would think that Mr. McCain might be on to something. Alas, I know without even asking that what he really wants to do is to replace one worthless form of currency with some other equally worthless (probably some odd zinc/ aluminum alloy) coinage in order to pretend to do something worthwhile (aka form over substance).
    RINOs = Progressives = worthless bureauweenies.

  26. petedoc810

    July 24, 2013
    9:05 a.m.

    Dollar coins will work if you stop printing the paper dollar. Then eliminate pennies and mandate all prices round to the nearest nickel. But, is this the best that old man can come up with?

  27. petedoc810

    July 24, 2013
    9:07 a.m.

    McCain is a short-sighted old fool.

  28. ctmom

    July 24, 2013
    9:30 a.m.

    Glenn Beck says the Star of David is on the dollar bill. That explains everything.

    • Sally

      Aug. 1, 2013
      3:44 p.m.

      Glenn says a lot of stuff. Most of it madeup to scare his listeners into buying his gold, survival kits, and his schtick.

  29. Freehopingtostayfree

    July 24, 2013
    9:45 a.m.

    How about examining the facts surrounding the weapons industry and figureing out how many members of Congress will gain wealth if arms are sent to Syria.

  30. Obummer

    July 24, 2013
    1:11 p.m.

    Obama will be on the new “dolla” coin. First black prez. If you do not agree – you are racist.

  31. aelfheld

    July 24, 2013
    3:31 p.m.

    A four year transition from the $1 bill to the $1 coin could result in
    billions of dollars in real savings that we should all be able to

    McCain’s estimate is as reliable as his understanding of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

  32. Jimmie D. Martin

    Aug. 1, 2013
    11:37 p.m.

    history will tell the true story of McCains POW favoritism as some of the fellow prisoners have

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