|Sponsor||Rep. Schiff, Adam B.|
|Date||May 13, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)|
|Staff Contact||Andy Koenig|
The House is scheduled to begin consideration of H.R. 347 on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 347 was introduced on January 8, 2009, by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and referred to the Committee of Financial Services, which took no official action.
H.R. 347 would require the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to award a single gold medal to the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, United States Army, collectively, for their service during World War II. The bill would require the Secretary of Treasury to design and produce the gold medal.
H.R. 347 would also allow Treasury to produce duplicate bronze medals, to be sold to the public at a price sufficient to cover the cost of the medals. The legislation would authorize up to $30,000 from the U.S. Mint Public Enterprise Fund to fund the cost of the gold medal. Any additional funds received from the sale of duplicates would be deposited back into the US Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
According to CRS, the Congressional Gold Medal has been bestowed by Congress to honor roughly 300 different individuals since 1776. General George Washington was the first person to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in March of 1776 in recognition of his "wise and spirited" conduct during the siege of Boston. Most recently, a Congressional Gold Medal bill was passed in honor of golfer Arnold Palmer.
CBO generally estimates that it costs between $30,000 and $35,000 to create a Gold Medal. According to Treasury, each Congressional Gold Medal contains 16 ounces of gold. As of May 12, 2009, gold was trading for $919.55 an ounce. Assuming relatively comparable gold prices when the medal is produced, the medal authorized by H.R. 1243 would need approximately $14,712.80 worth of gold. Additional sums authorized under the legislation would be used to pay for the design of the medal. Often, duplicate bronze medal sales are not enough to offset the cost of the gold medal. However, in some cases, sales of duplicate medals for very popular individuals offset their gold medal costs.
According to the resolution's findings, following the attack of Pearl Harbor the US Navy discharged all Japanese-American reservists and changed their draft status to "enemy alien." On June 12, 1942, the 100th Infantry Battalion-comprised mostly of second generation Americans of Japanese ancestry-was activated and sent to train in Wisconsin. After a year and a half, the 100th Infantry Battalion was deployed to the Mediterranean and entered combat in Italy in September of 1943. The battalion went on to serve with distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. During their service, the 100th Battalion and their regiment received 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier's Medals, and over 4,000 Purple Hearts, among numerous additional distinctions. According to the resolution, the 100th Battalion's regiment was the most decorated unit in the military for its size and length of service.
A CBO score for H.R. 347 was not available at press time. However, the legislation would authorize $30,000 from the U.S. Mint Public Enterprise Fund to pay for the cost of creating the Congressional medal and duplicates.