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December 13, 2011

Joe Biden cuts government waste...by halting production of presidential coins

The U.S. Mint plans to suspend the production of presidential dollar coins for circulation -- as part of a White House campaign to cut waste.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the move, saying that nearly 1.4 billion surplus dollar coins are "literally just sitting around unused" in Federal Reserve vaults due to lack of demand and that by ending production, the feds will save $50 million per year in production and storage costs.

"It will shock you all, the call for Chester A. Arthur coins is not there," Biden said at an event to announce the coin cutoff. 

Congress in 2005 enacted the Presidential $1 Coin Act, which requires the Mint to issue new Presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased President. But more than 40 percent of the $1 coins the Mint has issued have been returned to the Federal Reserve, because nobody wants to use them, the White House says.

As a result, nearly 1.4 billion excess dollar coins are already sitting unused in Federal Reserve Bank vaults – enough to meet demand for more than a decade. But until today, the White House says, the Mint was on pace to produce an additional 1.6 billion dollar coins through 2016.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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