CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2453 Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) on July 7, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Financial Services. H.R. 2453 was approved in the House under a suspension of the rules on April 18, 2012, by a vote of 408-4. On September 22, 2012, the bill was amended and approved in the Senate by unanimous consent.
H.R. 2453 would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue no more than 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 $1 silver coins with a design emblematic of the life and legacy of Mark Twain. Under the bill, issuance of such coins would be limit to calendar year 2016.
The coins would be sold at a sum of the face value of the coins and the cost of designing and issuing the coins. In addition, the bill would require specified surcharges in the sale of such coins, which would be paid, in specified percentages, to: (1) the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, to support the continued restoration of the house and grounds, and ensure continuing growth and innovation in museum programming to research, promote, and educate on the legacy of Mark Twain; (2) the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library of University of California, Berkeley, California; (3) the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, New York, for the same purposes; and (4) the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, to preserve historical sites related to Mark Twain and help support study and promotion programs.
Senate Amendment: The Senate amended the bill to include a requirement that no surcharges may be distributed until the total cost of designing and issuing all of the coins is recovered by Treasury. The amendment would also require the Secretary of Treasury to ensure that minting and issuing coins under this Act will not result in any net cost to the government. In addition, the amendment would require that 25 percent of available surcharges go to the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library of University of California, Berkeley, California, to support programs to study and promote Mark Twain’s legacy.
H.R. 2453 was approved in the House under a suspension of the rules on April 18, 2012, by a vote of 408-4. On September 22, 2012, the bill was amended and approved in the Senate by unanimous consent.
According to the findings of the bill, Samuel Clemens—better known to the world as Mark Twain—was a unique American voice whose literary work has had a lasting effect on our nation's history and culture. Mark Twain remains one of the best known Americans in the world with over 6,500 editions of his books translated into 75 languages.
Twain’s literary and educational legacy remains strong even today, with nearly every book he wrote still in print, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—both of which have never gone out of print since they were first published over a century ago.
In the past 2 decades alone, there have been more than 100 books published and over 250 doctoral dissertations written on Twain’s life and work. Even today, Americans seek to know more about the life and work of Mark Twain, as people from around the world and across all 50 States annually flock to National Historic Landmarks like the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT, and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, MO.
Mark Twain’s work is remembered today for addressing the complex social issues facing America at the turn of the century, including the legacy of the Civil War, race relations, and the economic inequalities of the “Gilded Age.”
There was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this bill.