The Wall Street bailout bill might have gone down to initial defeat but Congress in its weekend session Sept. 27-28 called to solve the national financial services meltdown had at least two numismatic consequences.
Unanimously passed by the Senate were two House bills creating new commemorative coinage: one honors the Army infantry soldiers in 2012 and the other will be struck for the centennial of the Boy Scouts in 2010.
The infantry bill was H.R. 3229 and the Boy Scouts silver dollar legislation is H.R. 5872.
A bill to honor the Girl Scouts on their centennial in 2011, H.R. 6404, which could easily have been amended into the Boy Scout bill, was left behind. It may yet be considered this session if the chorus is loud enough; otherwise its sponsors vow to continue with the request in the 111th Congress that will convene in January after the new year.
Both commemorative measures that passed will be sent to President Bush who by law will have 10 days to sign them. White House support is expected.
The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center Commemorative Coin Act directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue $1 coins emblematic of the courage, pride, sacrifice, sense of duty and history of the U.S. Infantry in 2012.
H.R. 3229 also provides that the sense of Congress is that the coins should be struck at the U.S. Mint at the military reservation of the U.S. service academy at West Point, N.Y., to the greatest extent possible. Up to 350,000 coins may be minted, each carrying a $10 surcharge. Total construction cost for the museum honoring the “dogfaces” who won America’s freedom is estimated at $104 million.
This legislation had bipartisan support. It was a Republican-sponsored bill that “sold” the Democratic-controlled House on June 10. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., shepherded the legislation through the House. The Senate, with a one-vote Democratic margin, followed suit in a rare Saturday session on Sept. 27.
As The oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army infantry, was established on June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress ordered the formation of 10 companies of riflemen.
Davis said, “The riflemen comprised the first armed force of a new Nation, a Nation destined to become the greatest democracy the world has ever known. Since that time, the infantry has gone where other forces could not go and accomplished missions others could not attempt.
“From the Siege of Boston of 1775 to San Juan Hill to the Battle of New Orleans to the Argonne Forest, where Sgt. York distinguished himself to the beaches of Normandy, they hunted the enemy in the Shau Valley, parachuted into Panama, and currently subdue our enemies on cold mountainside and hot desert sands in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Davis declared.
Some 290 members, or two-thirds of the House members co-sponsored the legislation. A comparable bill, S. 3356, was introduced July 29.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discharged the House-passed bill by unanimous consent and it passed the full body similarly.