WASHINGTON, DC — Congress is considering a measure that would give the Secretary of the Treasury increased flexibility in responding to fluctuating metal prices by adjusting the composition of U.S. coins, while requiring consideration of the effect that any such changes would have on the vending industry and other major users of coins.
National Automatic Merchandising Association president and chief executive officer Richard M. Geerdes testified before the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, in support of the measure. He was invited to speak by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), a cosponsor of the bill, who chairs the subcommittee.
Geerdes explained that HR 5512 is important because, in its current form, it offers two key benefits: It would keep costs down for the millions of Americans who use vending machines, and it would spare the nation’s owner/operator-run vending businesses millions of dollars of additional expense.
“In its current form, and after very productive collaboration with your Committee staff, HR 5512 now provides that future coins, while reducing production costs for the taxpayer, must work in existing coin- acceptance equipment in our country’s vending machines, and anywhere where coins are used, without modification to that equipment,” Geerdes told the subcommittee. He expressed NAMA’s gratitude, on behalf of the food and refreshment vending industry, for the subcommittee’s fine-tuning of the bill and “from both a practical and cost-to-the-industry standpoint,” and for the opportunity to work with the committee staff.
“We at NAMA share your committee’s interest in protecting consumers from unnecessary higher prices and in saving the taxpayer money,” the association president emphasized. “We agree that rising prices for copper, nickel and zinc require an examination of the alloys used in making U.S. coins, but we submit that such an examination should be just one element in broad, fundamental coin and currency reform. Any such reform should include replacing dollar bills with dollar coins, which would save the taxpayer at least $600 million a year.”
HR 5512 was introduced by Rep. Zackary Space (D-OH), and cosponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Gutiérrez.