Less than a month after Senators from New Hampshire proposed legislation seeking the issue of commemorative coins honoring Christa McAuliffe and other astronauts lost aboard the Challenger space shuttle, another NASA-related commemorative coin program has been proposed by Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida.
The bill’s current title is “S. 2957: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon,” and shares its theme with a proposal submitted by Florida Representative Bill Posey (R) in June of last year.
As previously reported, the original bill had floundered in Congress but recently found new momentum thanks in part to widely-shared Coin World article written by Louis Golino. Since the appearance of the column on April 6, the number of cosponsors of the bill has jumped from 63 to 105, with signatories being evenly split between both parties. The bill needs 290 co-signers to receive further consideration by Congress.
While we don’t yet have access to the text of the new proposal, Golino notes that the prior bill seeks the issue of a “three-coin set of a silver dollar, clad half dollar, and $5 gold coin plus a first for the modern commemorative program, a proof 5-ounce silver coin struck in the concave/convex shape used for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins.” It’s possible the new proposal modifies some of the stipulations included in the first bill, but we won’t know until the text is released.
It’s not uncommon for there to be two bills simultaneously seeking the issue of similarly-themed coins. There are currently two submissions each proposing commemoratives for the Mayflower, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the United States Coast Guard, and Christa McAuliffe.
Several factors can effect a bill’s viability, including the details it contains, its co-sponsors, whether the sponsor is currently part of the majority or minority party, and the depth of the proposal’s bi-partisan support. With all of these variables, including the overall difficulty of getting any legislation to become law (only 3% of bills were enacted from 2013-2015), it’s no surprise that some proposals see bills submitted from multiple Senators and Representatives.