The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation to commemorate Medal of Honor recipients with silver and gold coins in 2011.
The Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009, H.R. 1209 would authorize the United States Mint to strike up to 500,000 $1 silver coins and 100,000 $5 gold coins in proof and uncirculated conditions.
"We owe everything to those who wore the uniform and committed extraordinary acts of bravery in defense of their colleagues and nation," said Rep. Christopher Carney who introduced H.R. 1209.
"This bill will not only recognize the outstanding achievements of these men and women, but the proceeds from the sale of the coins will go to educate people about the significance and exclusivity of the award," Carney added.
The Medal of Honor was authorized by Congress in 1861 and is America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
The legislation provides general coin design guidance, stating that it must:
"Contain motifs that represent the 3 Medal of Honor designs (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and specifically honor the Medal of Honor recipients of both today and yesterday, such designs to be consistent with the traditions and heritage of the United States Armed Services, the mission and goals of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the mission and goals of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation."
The bill had 302 cosponsors, passing quickly by voice vote. It includes surcharges of $35 per coin for the $5 coin and $10 per coin for the $1 coin to be paid to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation "to help finance the educational, scholarship and outreach programs of the Foundation."
For H.R. 1209 to become law, it must now pass in the Senate and then get signed by the President. The Senate has a companion bill, S. 883, which has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
For the latest 2009 bills relating to coinage, visit the Coin Legislation page.