CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2245 on Tuesday, July 20, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 2245 was introduced on May 5, 2009, by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and referred to the Committee on Financial Services, which took no official action.
H.R. 2245 would require the Secretary of Treasury to design and produce four gold medals honoring astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John Herschel Glenn, Jr., in recognition for their "contributions to society." The bill would authorize the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to make appropriate arrangements for the presentation of the medal to the recipients.
H.R. 2245 would also allow Treasury to strike and sell duplicate bronze medals. The legislation would authorize "such amounts as may be necessary" from the U.S. Mint Public Enterprise Fund to pay for the cost of the medals. Any sale of duplicates would be deposited back into the 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 given in honor of Native American code talkers during World War II.
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 July 20, 2009, gold was trading for $954.20 an ounce. Assuming relatively comparable gold prices when the medal is produced, the medals authorized by H.R. 2245 would need approximately $15,267 worth of gold to produce each. Additional costs for the medals include the cost of their design and production. 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.
Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John Herschel Glenn, Jr., were American astronauts who pioneered early space travel. Armstrong was the first man to land and walk on the moon, where he was joined by Aldrin. Collins was the third man on the first moon trip and piloted the command module in lunar orbit, allowing his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts complete their mission on the moon. Glenn helped pave the way for future space exploration, including the moon landing, when he became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962.
A CBO score for H.R. 2245 was not yet available at press time.