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Motto move likely

The French say the more things change, the more they stay the same. That couldn’t be more apt in light of recent action in the House of Representatives June 29.

A vote was taken in the House of Representatives to cut off funding to the Mint that is used for the purpose of putting edge lettering on Presidential dollars.

It is not that Congress dislikes edge lettering. It probably doesn’t care as a body one way or the other, but what it truly does not like are the recent error headlines about “Godless dollars.” Those are fighting words to our elected representatives just as they were in 1907.

Instead of moving the motto to the edge 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt went whole hog with the new Saint-Gaudens $20 design. He took the motto off completely, maintaining that it was sacrilegious.

It would be an understatement to say the nation did not feel that way. Legislation was rapidly introduced in Congress and the use of the motto was mandated in law to overrule the President’s position. The motto reappeared in 1908.

Every President gets his wrist slapped now and again by the Congress, but Teddy did not stay down long. He still had a bully time in office and has been fondly remembered ever since.

It is only we collectors who remember and repeat the “In God We Trust” story.

Look for more prominent treatment of “In God We Trust” on the Presidential coins in 2008.

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2 Responses to Motto move likely

  1. Scott Barman says:

    Dave… what "recent action" was taken by the House of Representatives? The House was not in session on June 29 and, according to the Clerk of the House, no votes were taken. The last votes were on June 28 and that was for H.R.2829, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2008 and its associated amendments. This bill funds the workings of the Department of the Treasury, Executive Office of the President, the District of Columbia, and a number of independent agencies. Additionally, the Congressional Record does not have any record of a vote occurring on any manner of coinage during the week of July 25-29.

    In searching the records of legislation at thomas.loc.gov, the only reference to "In God We Trust" outside of proposed legislation for commemoratives, is H.R.2510 offered by Virgil Goode (R-VA) and co-sponsored by 90 Republicans that is currently sitting in the House Financial Services Committee. Barney Frank (D-MA) is the chairman of that committee. Rep. Frank is not a fan of this bill and has the power to never schedule it for hearing, which will likely be the outcome.

    If there was any confusion, it may have been that Rep. Goode, whose more famous for his "In Muhammad We Trust" comment on the House floor, did offer an amendment regarding certain funding described in H.R.2829. This amendment was passed by the House. It is included in the enrolled version of the bill that was sent to the Senate for consideration.

    The likelihood of a change in the Presidential Dollars is highly unlikely. Aside from not being on Rep. Frank’s agenda, the bill is not being embraced by the 36 member Democratic majority, co-sponsored by less than half of the 34 GOP members of the committee, and ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) is not a co-sponsor of this bill. Politically, the odds are against its passage.

  2. Scott Barman says:

    Can I say "Never Mind!" I found the amendment described in the Congressionl Record on page H7374 for Hourse Amendement (H.AMDT.) 483 introduced by Rep Roger Wicker (R-MS). Leave it up to Congress to mess up a good thing!

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