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Heard on the Hill: Dolla Dolla … Coin (?) Y’all

Congress needs to save a few bucks. TRILLIONS of them, actually. And a trio of currency-obsessed lawmakers think they’ve got a pretty pain-free solution.

But before you reach for your radio-chipped Visa or app-addled smartphone, just know that the prescribed salvation is more jingle-jangly than space-agey.

Republican Reps. David Schweikert (Ariz.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas) have banded together to champion the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings Act, a plan designed to replace the lowly, raggedy $1 bill with vending machine-friendly, generation-spanning $1 coins.

The Government Accountability Office reported in March that the proposal COULD save the government up to $5.5 billion over the next three decades — but it’s far from guaranteed bank. The GAO study paints the plan as a revenue loser until year five and warns that the rising cost of coin production — the U.S. Mint estimates $1 coins run about $0.32 a pop to press — could consume any/all cost savings.

No word on whether Hensarling plans to float this bill during the next super committee sparring session. Regardless, Schweikert’s people insist he’s committed to the cause. “He wants to protect the taxpayer dollar. This is just one way to save money,” an aide says.

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Photos of the week ending December 8, 2023