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Quarter Program Adds Territories
By David L. Ganz
December 20, 2007

The rush by Congress to pass a government appropriations bill just before Christmas has a numismatic twist: in it is an extension of the 50-state quarter program that would include the District of Columbia and five U.S. trust territories. It also would mandate removing "In God We Trust" from the edge of Presidential dollars and placing the motto on the obverse.

The only thing remaining to make it law is the signature of President George Bush.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008 that passed the House of Representatives Dec. 17 is what will fund the government for the current fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Thus, it also contains a clause providing for the Mint's manufacture of circulating coins, paid or out of the public enterprise fund established for such purpose.

"[The United States Mint is provided funding through the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund for costs associated with the production of circulating coins, numismatic coins, and protective services, including both operating expenses and capital investments. The aggregate amount of new liabilities and obligations incurred during fiscal year 2008 ... for circulating coinage and protective service capital investments of the United States Mint shall not exceed $33,200,000."

That's the normal and usual part. This year, there are also more than 9,000 earmarks, or amendments designed to fund various local congressional projects - sometimes called pork barrel projects like Alaska's bridge to nowhere.

President George Bush hinted he would veto the funding measure if the military did not get a supplemental appropriation for the Iraq presence. Two numismatic amendments made it into the final House bill - where under the Constitution, all appropriations bills must originate (though the Senate can amend them).

Section 622 adds an 11th year in 2009 to the 50-state quarter program and six more coins: Washington, D.C., and five insular territories: American Samoa, Guam, American Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Most have been American possessions for over a century.

Section 623 would require that the new Presidential dollar coin program remove the national motto, "In God We Trust," from the edge of the coin and restore it to the obverse, where it appears on all other coin issues. The change would be required "as soon as is practicable after the date of enactment."

The House has passed legislation to extend the 50-state quarter program to 56 designs four previous times. In each instance, an anonymous "hold" in the Senate precluded the Senate Banking Committee from holding hearings and from the majority leader bringing it to a recorded vote or approval by unanimous consent.

This time there were no mysterious holds. The holidays beckoned and the Senate swallowed the House version.

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On December 22, 2007 Scott said
It is absolutely STUPID to remove the motto from the edge of the coin and place it on the obverse. This is the work of the right wing yahoos who would rather legislate morality than worry about the breaking up of families by killing the parents in an insipid war this country should not have been in to begin with. This is the result of imbeciles like the jingoistic Wilson Goode, the GOP jerk from backwoods Virginia who made an insipid speech in the well of the House saying, "In Muhammad We Trust," which will not only incite discrimination, but is WRONG in its context. They need to stop proselytizing via our coinage and do something useful... like going back to his outhouse in southern Virginia and get lost in his outhouse!
On December 26, 2007 alberto pico said
I would go one step further and remove the motto in its entirety from all coinage,thus going back to the wise precepts established by the founding fathers in keeping government and religion separate.If we want to really show devotion to a higher being,we would do well to remember that Christ himself urged us "to render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's,and unto God that which is God's".
On December 29, 2007 hoshie said
As for the quarters, I have supported this for few years, so I am HAPPY! As for moving the motto on the Prexibux, this is bad. The reason I'm collecting the series is because of the variety of the edge lettering. This includes all the mottos and the year/mintmark.

Also, Mr. Ganz, there is an error in your lead. The US territories aren't known as "trust territories". They are ether known as "insular areas or just territories. The trust territories" was a system were the UN give control of a former Japanese or German colony to a third country to administer for a bit before a decision was reached on status. The last US trust territory was Palau; it became independent in 1994. The current US territories are not under this system; it is different.

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