[Congressional Record Volume 141, Number 192 (Tuesday, December 5, 1995)]
[House]
[Pages H13946-H13948]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        COMMEMORATIVE COIN AUTHORIZATION AND REFORM ACT OF 1995

  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 2614) to reform the commemorative coin programs of the U.S. 
Mint in order to protect the integrity of such programs and prevent 
losses of Government funds, to authorize the U.S. Mint to mint and 
issue platinum and gold bullion coins, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 2614

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Commemorative Coin 
     Authorization and Reform Act of 1995''.
               TITLE I--COMMEMORATIVE COIN PROGRAM REFORM

     SEC. 101. RECOVERY OF MINT EXPENSES REQUIRED BEFORE PAYMENT 
                   OF SURCHARGES TO ANY RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION.

       (a) Clarification of Law Relating to Deposit of Surcharges 
     in the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund.--Section 5134(c)(2) 
     of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting ``, 
     including amounts attributable to any surcharge imposed with 
     respect to the sale of any numismatic item'' before the 
     period.
       (b) Conditions on Payment of Surcharges to Recipient 
     Organizations.--Section 5134 of title 31, United States Code, 
     is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(f) Conditions on Payment of Surcharges to Recipient 
     Organizations.--
       ``(1) Payment of surcharges.--Notwithstanding any other 
     provision of law, no amount derived from the proceeds of any 
     surcharge imposed on the sale of any numismatic item shall be 
     paid from the fund to any designated recipient organization 
     unless--
       ``(A) all numismatic operation and program costs allocable 
     to the program under which such numismatic item is produced 
     and sold have been recovered; and
       ``(B) the designated recipient organization submits an 
     audited financial statement which demonstrates to the 
     satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury that, with 
     respect to all projects or purposes for which the proceeds of 
     such surcharge may be used, the organization has raised funds 
     from private sources for such projects and purposes in an 
     amount which is equal to or greater than the maximum amount 
     the organization may receive from the proceeds of such 
     surcharge.
       ``(2) Annual audits.--
       ``(A) Annual audits of recipients required.--Each 
     designated recipient organization which receives any payment 
     from the fund of any amount derived from the proceeds of any 
     surcharge imposed on the sale of any numismatic item shall 
     provide, as a condition for receiving any such amount, for an 
     annual audit, in accordance with generally accepted 
     government auditing standards by an independent public 
     accountant selected by the organization, of all such payments 
     to the organization beginning in the first fiscal year of the 
     organization in which any such amount is received and 
     continuing until all amounts received by such organization 
     from the fund with respect to such surcharges are fully 
     expended or placed in trust.
       ``(B) Minimum requirements for annual audits.--At a 
     minimum, each audit of a designated recipient organization 
     pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall report--
       ``(i) the amount of payments received by the designated 
     recipient organization from the fund during the fiscal year 
     of the organization for which the audit is conducted which 
     are derived from the proceeds of any surcharge imposed on the 
     sale of any numismatic item;
       ``(ii) the amount expended by the designated recipient 
     organization from the proceeds of such surcharges during the 
     fiscal year of the organization for which the audit is 
     conducted; and
       ``(iii) whether all expenditures by the designated 
     recipient organization during the fiscal year of the 
     organization for which the audit is conducted from the 
     proceeds of such surcharges were for authorized purposes.
       ``(C) Responsibility of organization to account for 
     expenditures of surcharges.--Each designated recipient 
     organization which receives any payment from the fund of any 
     amount derived from the proceeds of any surcharge imposed on 
     the sale of any numismatic item shall take appropriate steps, 
     as a condition for receiving any such payment, to ensure that 
     the receipt of the payment and the expenditure of the 
     proceeds of such surcharge by the organization in each fiscal 
     year of the organization can be accounted for separately from 
     all other revenues and expenditures of the organization.
       ``(D) Submission of audit report.--Not later than 90 days 
     after the end of any fiscal year of a designated recipient 
     organization for which an audit is required under 
     subparagraph (A), the organization shall--
       ``(i) submit a copy of the report to the Secretary of the 
     Treasury; and
       ``(ii) make a copy of the report available to the public.
       ``(E) Use of surcharges for audits.--Any designated 
     recipient organization which receives any payment from the 
     fund of any amount derived from the proceeds of any surcharge 
     imposed on the sale of any numismatic item may use the amount 
     received to pay the cost of an audit required under 
     subparagraph (A).
       ``(F) Waiver of paragraph.--The Secretary of the Treasury 
     may waive the application of any subparagraph of this 
     paragraph to any designated recipient organization for any 
     fiscal year after taking into account the amount of 
     surcharges which such organization received or expended 
     during such year.
       ``(G) Nonapplicability to federal entities.--This paragraph 
     shall not apply to any Federal agency or department or any 
     independent establishment in the executive branch which 
     receives any payment from the fund of any amount derived from 
     the proceeds of any surcharge imposed on the sale of any 
     numismatic item.
       ``(H) Availability of books and records.--An organization 
     which receives any payment from the fund of any amount 
     derived from the proceeds of any surcharge imposed on the 
     sale of any numismatic item shall provide, as a condition for 
     receiving any such payment, to the Inspector General of the 
     Department of the Treasury or the Comptroller General of the 
     United States, upon the request of such Inspector General or 
     the Comptroller General, all books, records, and workpapers 
     belonging to or used by the organization, or by any 
     independent 

[[Page H 13947]]
     public accountant who audited the organization in accordance with 
     subparagraph (A), which may relate to the receipt or 
     expenditure of any such amount by the organization.
       ``(3) Use of agents or attorneys to influence commemorative 
     coin legislation.--No portion of any payment from the fund to 
     any designated recipient organization of any amount derived 
     from the proceeds of any surcharge imposed on the sale of any 
     numismatic item may be used, directly or indirectly, by the 
     organization to compensate any agent or attorney for services 
     rendered to support or influence in any way legislative 
     action of the Congress relating to such numismatic item.
       ``(4) Designated recipient organization defined.--For 
     purposes of this subsection, the term `designated recipient 
     organization' means any organization designated, under any 
     provision of law, as the recipient of any surcharge imposed 
     on the sale of any numismatic item.''.
       (c) Scope of Application.--The amendments made by this 
     section shall apply with respect to the proceeds of any 
     surcharge imposed on the sale of any numismatic item which 
     are deposited in the Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (d) Repeal of Existing Recipient Report Requirement.--
     Section 303 of Public Law 103--186 (31 U.S.C. 5112 note) is 
     hereby repealed.

     SEC. 102. CITIZENS COMMEMORATIVE COIN ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

       (a) Fixed Terms for Members.--Section 5135(a)(4) of title 
     31, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
       ``(4) Terms.--Each member appointed under clause (i) or 
     (iii) of paragraph (3)(A) shall be appointed for a term of 4 
     years.''.
       (b) Chairperson.--Section 5135(a) of title 31, United 
     States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following 
     new paragraph:
       ``(6) Chairperson.--The Chairperson of the Advisory 
     Committee shall be elected by the members of the Advisory 
     Committee from among such members.''.

     SEC. 104. COMMEMORATIVE CIRCULATING COIN PROGRAM.

       (a) In General.--The Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory 
     Committee shall develop a recommendation for a multiyear 
     commemorative coin program involving the circulating coins of 
     the United States which would supersede other commemorative 
     coin programs for the years the commemorative circulating 
     coin program is in effect.
       (b) Report to Congress.--The Citizens Commemorative Coin 
     Advisory Committee shall submit a report to the Congress 
     before the end of the 6-month period beginning on the date of 
     the enactment of this Act on the recommendations developed by 
     the committee pursuant to subsection (a), together with such 
     recommendations for legislative or administrative action as 
     the committee determines to be necessary or appropriate with 
     respect to such recommendations.
               TITLE II--PLATINUM AND GOLD BULLION COINS

     SEC. 201. PLATINUM COINS.

       (a) In General.--Section 5112 of title 31, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     subsection:
       ``(k) Platinum Coins.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary of the Treasury may mint and issue 
     platinum coins in such quantity and of such variety as the 
     Secretary determines to be appropriate.
       ``(2) Specifications.--Platinum coins minted under this 
     subsection shall meet such specifications with respect to 
     diameter, weight, design, and fineness as the Secretary, in 
     the Secretary's discretion, may prescribe from time to time.
       ``(3) Legal tender.--The coins minted under this subsection 
     shall be legal tender, as provided in section 5103 of title 
     31, United States Code.
       ``(4) Numismatic items.--For purposes of section 5134 of 
     title 31, United States Code, all coins minted under this 
     subsection shall be considered to be numismatic items.
       ``(5) Designations and inscriptions.--On each coin minted 
     under this subsection, there shall be--
       ``(A) a designation of the value of the coin and the weight 
     of the platinum content of the coin;
       ``(B) an inscription of the year in which the coin is 
     minted or issued; and
       ``(C) inscriptions of the words `Liberty', `In God We 
     Trust', `United States of America', and `E Pluribus Unum'.
       ``(6) Sale price.--
       ``(A) Bullion.--The bullion versions of the coins issued 
     under this Act shall be sold by the Secretary at a price 
     equal to the sum of--
       ``(i) the market value of the bullion at the time of the 
     sale; and
       ``(ii) the cost of minting, marketing, and distributing the 
     coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, 
     and promotional and overhead expenses).
       ``(B) Proof versions.--Proof versions of the coins issued 
     under this Act may be sold by the Secretary at a price equal 
     to the sum of--
       ``(i) the cost of designing and issuing the coins 
     (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead 
     expenses, marketing, and shipping); and
       ``(ii) a reasonable profit.
       ``(7) Bulk sales.--The Secretary may make bulk sales of the 
     coins issued under this subsection at a reasonable 
     discount.''.
       (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Section 5112(j)(1) 
     of title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting ``, 
     (i), or (k)'' after ``subsection (e)''.

     SEC. 202. AMERICAN EAGLE GOLD COINS AUTHORIZED TO BE PRODUCED 
                   IN 2 OR MORE DESIGNS, WEIGHTS, DIAMETERS, OR 
                   FINENESSES SIMULTANEOUSLY.

       Section 5112(i)(4) of title 31, United States Code, is 
     amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
       ``(C) Continued minting to statutory specifications after 
     determination to mint coins to changed specifications.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the 
     Secretary may continue to mint and issue coins in accordance 
     with the specifications contained in paragraphs (7), (8), 
     (9), and (10) of subsection (a) and paragraph (1)(A) of this 
     subsection at the same time the Secretary is minting and 
     issuing other coins under this subsection in accordance with 
     such specifications, varieties, quantities, designations, and 
     inscriptions as the Secretary may determine to be 
     appropriate.''.
               TITLE III--MINT MANAGERIAL STAFFING REFORM

     SEC. 301. MODERNIZATION OF THE MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE.

       Section 5131 of title 31, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) by striking subsection (c); and
       (2) by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (c).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Delaware [Mr. Castle] and the gentleman from New York [Mr. Flake] will 
be recognized for 20 minutes each.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Delaware [Mr. Castle].
  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of H.R. 2614, a measure that 
protects the American taxpayer and maintains the integrity of the U.S. 
Mint's coin programs. I am grateful to enjoy the support of 
Representative James Leach, chairman of the Committee on Banking and 
Financial Services. On the other side of the aisle, Representative 
Gonzalez, former committee chairman, Representative Flake, the ranking 
member of the subcommittee, Representatives Maloney, Watt, and Frank of 
Massachusetts have provided their strong support for this legislation, 
and I appreciate their efforts. I would also like to acknowledge the 
valuable input and support of Representatives Barr, Lucas, Kelly, Ney, 
Fox, and Metcalf of the subcommittee. Representative John Olver, 
although not a committee member, has also provided immeasurable support 
and generous guidance in bringing this bill to the floor today.
  Mr. Speaker, the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary 
Policy has primary jurisdiction over the Commemorative Coin Programs of 
the U.S. Mint. This legislation reforms those programs following 
recommendations by the administration and the Citizens Commemorative 
Coin Advisory Committee [CCCAC], received both in testimony before the 
subcommittee on July 12, 1995, and in CCCAC's First Annual Report to 
Congress, released in November, 1994. This bill also addresses the 
concerns of the numismatic collectors, who purchase 90 percent of 
commemorative coin issues. No longer will the saturation of the market 
threaten the value of their collections, nor with they be the sole 
support for beneficiary causes of uncertain popularity.
  Title I, which covers Commemorative Coin Program Reform, amends 
section 5134 of U.S.C. title 31, and prohibits disbursement of 
surcharges to recipient organizations unless and until all Mint costs 
for that coin have been fully recovered. With both previous and current 
programs, surcharges were disbursed as coins were sold, at times 
putting Government moneys at risk. It is our hope that this will also 
help to keep in check the marketing costs, undertaken by the Mint, that 
have been requested by recipient organizations.
  The maximum surcharge disbursement to a recipient organization is 
limited to the amount received from separate fund raising by that 
organization. No longer will organizations depend exclusively on 
surcharges for funding projects. This reform will insure that 
beneficiary organizations are not simply created to receive the 
proceeds of commemorative coins but requires that they demonstrate an 
adequate and independent measure of public support.
  Annual audits will be required of the recipient organizations, with 
an accounting of all surcharge moneys and verification of the 
authorized use of surcharge moneys. In addition, title I 

[[Page H 13948]]
forbids any recipient organization from using surcharges for lobbying 
activities, thereby maintaining the original purpose of the surcharge 
moneys.
  Title I shortens the length of service for members of the CCCAC to a 
term of 4 years, and allows for the election of a chairperson by and 
from committee members. This makes for a better reflection of the 
appointing administration and does not extend the appointees' mandate 
far beyond it. H.R. 2614 calls for the CCCAC to develop recommendations 
for a multiyear Commemorative Coin Program, along the lines of the 
popular bicentennial quarter. No surcharges are collected on this type 
of commemorative, which makes the hobby of coin collecting affordable 
and accessible to the broadest public.
  Title II permits the issuance of plantium and gold bullion coins by 
amending section 5112 of U.S.C. title 31. The Secretary of the Treasury 
would have the authority to determine the quantity, variety, and 
physical specifications of these coins. The price would be that of the 
bullion plus cost of manufacture, with a reasonable profit added for 
proof versions. Minting of two or more designs of the American Eagle 
gold coins, with specifications determined by the Secretary, would be 
allowed.
  Title III eliminates, at the administration's request, nine political 
positions not filled by the current administration.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2614 goes a long way toward correcting problems 
that threatened to destroy the Commemorative Coin Program. 
Commemorative coins are a benefit, not only to numismatic enthusiasts 
and the recipient organizations but also by reaffirming our history, to 
our Nation as a whole. This bill links public funding of special 
projects to demonstrated private support, and discourages groups from 
demanding superfluous coins. It prevents the further abuse of the coin 
collecting community by groups lacking general public support. This 
bill must be passed if the Commemorative Coin Program is to survive and 
even flourish in the current environment with reduced levels of demand. 
I urge its immediate adoption.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate the gentleman from 
Delaware [Mr. Castle] and his staff for working diligently this year on 
a number of coin-related issues. Moreover, I join with him today in 
support of H.R. 2614, which will make minor, but vital, changes in our 
process of minting commemorative coins.
  Mr. Speaker, in the past, I have supported various types of 
legislation to mint commemorative coins. Since assuming the role of 
ranking member on the authorizing committee, however, I have become 
more aware of the crisis in the commemorative coin process. My fellow 
colleagues, you would be amazed at the intensity of the debate on this 
issue. All those in favor of new coins, and those who vehemently oppose 
them, continually execute overwhelming lobbying campaigns. The result 
is that the Banking Committee always has a broad spectrum of opinions 
as to which coins deserve to be included in the Mint's commemorative 
series.
  As political favors, and with good intentions, Members of Congress 
continually introduce new coin legislation. Consequently, the Banking 
Committee, and the Mint have drowned in a sea of commemoratives. The 
net result is that Congress has burdened the Mint with numerous coins 
which diminish the Mint's capacity to mint regular coins, and which 
further cause the Mint to operate at a higher cost.
  The numismatic community also has problems with the current state of 
affairs in the commemorative process. The onslaught of commemoratives 
has the negative effect of decreasing the value of coins to the 
collector. This in turn discourages purchases, and leaves the Mint 
holding the proverbial ``bag'' in that it is stuck with coins it cannot 
sell.
  H.R. 2614 mends this process. By making clear that we will give 
primary consideration to recommendations from the Citizens 
Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, and by requiring stringent 
audits, we will ensure integrity in the process. Furthermore, by 
requiring that the Mint recover its costs before surcharges are 
released to recipient groups, we will protect the vital fiscal interest 
of the Government.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, this legislation authorizes the minting of 
platinum and gold bullion coins. Again this will encourage increased 
purchases, and opens a new competitive market for precious metal coins. 
It is my hope that this bill passes with unanimous support.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, no recognition other than, again, to thank 
the gentleman from New York [Mr. Flake] for the work he has done. This 
particular piece of legislation did take some dealings with various 
groups and individuals in order to work out some of the differences, 
and we were able to do so.
  If the gentleman is prepared to yield back, I am as well.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute to thank the 
gentleman from Delaware [Mr. Castle] and his staff. Again, this really 
is a great subcommittee Domestic and International Monetary Policy. The 
gentleman from Delaware [Mr. Castle] and I have been able to have an 
excellent relationship. Our staffs relate excellently, and that is the 
reason we can bring bills to the floor and move them so easily.
  Mr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Speaker, I strongly recommend that all Members of 
the House of Representatives today vote to pass H.R. 2416, the 
Commemorative Coin Authorization and Reform Act of 1995.
  Our colleague, Congressman Michael Castle of Delaware, introduced 
this bill and, as chairman of the Banking Committee's Domestic and 
International Monetary Policy Subcommittee, chaired a markup of the 
bill which resulted in a unanimous vote for this legislation.
  This important legislation provides critical reform of our Nation's 
commemorative coin program. The reforms contained in this bill have 
been suggested and endorsed by the administration and the Mint's 
Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee. Among some of the more 
noteworthy changes are provisions that disallow payment of any 
surcharges resulting from the sale of the coins until and unless the 
cost to the U.S. Mint for the coin has been recovered. In addition, the 
organization which receives the surcharge must submit audited financial 
statements showing receipts of donations from private sources greater 
than the potential proceeds of coin surcharges.
  Further, the recipient organization will be required to submit an 
annual audit of all surcharge payments indicating all revenues and 
expenditures and verification that all expenditures were for authorized 
purposes. For example, because of this bill, surcharge moneys for a 
program to build a memorial could not be used for the general support 
of the sponsoring organization.
  In summary, Mr. Speaker, in our vote today, we will ensure the 
financial integrity of the commemorative coin program. Passage of H.R. 
2614 will reinforce the public's confidence in the program and I 
commend Chairman Castle and the ranking Democratic member of the 
subcommittee, Congressman Floyd Flake, for their work in bringing this 
bill to the floor today.
  I urge an ``aye'' vote.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Delaware [Mr. Castle] that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 2614.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor 
thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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