America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 (H.R. 6184) sailed through the House easily yesterday with 419 members voting "Yes", and 0 voting "No".
H.R. 6184 would authorize the United States Mint to make changes to the design of the quarter-dollar coin to feature one national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia, and each territory beginning in 2010.
During this period, designs for each national park or other national site would replace the eagle design on the reverse side of the George Washington quarter that is scheduled to be used again in 2010 (after the conclusion of the D.C. and U.S. Territories Quarter Program).
Collector proof, uncirculated and silver park quarter coins are also authorized under the measure.
With a rate of issuance set to five quarter-dollars each year, and a clause granting the Treasury Secretary — the ultimate authority over the United States Mint — the discretion to mint a "second round," the American public may see rotating quarter designs for 20 years, or until almost 2030.
Will the legislation become law? Strong House support and an identical bill already before the Senate makes a new sea of forthcoming park quarters almost a sure bet.
Helping its passage is the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) budget report saying changing quarter designs would reduce direct government spending by $26 million over a period between 2010-2018. The estimate is based on collectors purchasing uncirculated, proof and silver coins. On top of that, seigniorage (or profit) estimates due to public hoarding of circulating coins are estimated to about $785 million over the 10-year period.
“It is truly a rare opportunity in Congress to vote on legislation that will produce revenue for the federal government without raising or creating new taxes. This is an easy bill to understand as well as an easy bill to like.
It was popular enough in Committee to pass by a 58-0 vote two weeks ago, and I am pleased to see that my colleagues in the House have also approved this bill by an overwhelming majority. The parks program is a natural follow-up to the state quarters.
Nothing could be more logical than recognizing the sites all Americans hold most dear, such as our seashores, forests, wildlife refuges, and monuments.
It is my hope that the Senate will send this bill to the President quickly since the National Park Quarters program would start in 2010 — immediately after the D.C. and territories quarters are circulated for the state quarters.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY] cosponsored the bill and commented,
“Heads or tails, this bill is a win for our national parks, our states, and our country. I applaud Congressman Castle’s leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with him to pass this legislation.”
H.R. 6184 must pass through the Senate and President before becoming law.