Bill now heads to Oval Office for president’s signature
By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
UPDATE: President Obama signed the bill into law on April 29.
On Tuesday, April 19, after a nearly nine-month delay, the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2722) was released from committee and pass unanimously by the Senate.
It had already passed the House of Representatives on July 15 of last year.
The bill, originally introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12) and Pete Sessions (R-TX32) on June 10, 2015, had seemed a fairly uncontroversial bill with bipartisan support until a small faction of nominally conservative Republicans derailed the vote because it provided surcharges to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a well-known breast cancer charity with its own share of legal troubles.
Specifically, the conservative faction objected to Susan G. Komen Foundation’s support of Planned Parenthood, the apparent target of this bit of political gamesmanship. The move came not long after controversial and discredited videos surfaced purporting to show representatives of Planned Parenthood accepting payment from a fake biotech company for fetal tissue acquired from abortions.
After a procedural maneuver conducted by Representative Justin Amash (R-MI3) allowed for a delay on the vote in the House, the Senate version of the bill languished in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs until yesterday, when it was discharged. The Senate Banking Committee is headed by Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL).
CoinWeek Artist’s Concept of 2018 Breast Cancer Design. Stock Photo Element: Dreamstime.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Program
The 2015 Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2722) authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a set of three coins “emblematic of the fight against breast cancer”. Up to 50,000 90% pure $5 gold coins, 400,000 90% pure $1 silver coins, and 750,000 clad half dollars could be minted during the program’s year-long run in 2018. The coins would come in proof and uncirculated finishes, and bear the face value, the year 2018, and the inscriptions LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and E PLURIBUS UNUM on the obverse and reverse.
Bulk, pre-paid and discount orders are allowed.
The bill also establishes a design competition open to Mint artists, engravers and interested members of the general public. Preference would be given to 3D models but paper and electronic representations are acceptable. Design candidates would be judged by a six-person committee consisting of three members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and three members of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). The winning artist would receive at least $5,000 dollars but the Treasury Secretary may grant a larger prize at his or her discretion.
Surcharges of $35, $10 and $5 would be added to the face value of the $5 gold coin, silver dollar and clad half dollar, respectively. After the Treasury Department recoups all expenses relating to the commemorative’s production and sales, proceeds from the surcharges will now be given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York City.
Previously, surcharges were to be evenly split between the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure based in Dallas, Texas.
It now remains for President Obama to sign the bill into law.