Two senators announce plan to eliminate penny, replace dollar bill with a coin

Another effort is underway to eliminate the penny and replace the dollar bill with a coin, reports WKYT.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senators John McCain and Mike Enzi announced the reintroduction of the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017, or the COINS Act for short.

According to a press release about the legislation, they said it would "modernize our currency by moving to a $1 dollar coin, reduce the cost of nickel production and suspend the minting of the penny, which currently costs more than one cent to produce."

The release also emphasized the estimated cost savings of the plan which have been projected to be as high as $16 billion.

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The creation of U.S. currency inside the U.S. Mint
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The creation of U.S. currency inside the U.S. Mint
PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 27: United States Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 27, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
The US flag hangs over gold bars in a vault at the United States Mint at West Point in West Point, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Sales of gold and silver coins by the U.S. Mint may rise to a record this year if demand continues to remain at the current pace, according to Richard Peterson, acting director of the mint. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
United States one dollar bills are curled and inspected during production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
United States one dollar bills are inspected under a magnifying glass during production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
One ounce 24 karat gold proof blanks are seen at the United States West Point Mint facility in West Point, New York June 5, 2013. Demand for U.S. gold coins is still at "unprecedented" high levels almost two months after an historic sell-off in gold released years of pent-up demand from retail investors, the head the U.S. Mint said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES)
One-ounce silver Liberty coins sit in a tray at the United States Mint at West Point in West Point, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Sales of gold and silver coins by the U.S. Mint may rise to a record this year if demand continues to remain at the current pace, according to Richard Peterson, acting director of the mint. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pressman Larry Norton inspects a one-ounce silver bullion coin at the United States Mint at West Point in West Point, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Sales of gold and silver coins by the U.S. Mint may rise to a record this year if demand continues to remain at the current pace, according to Richard Peterson, acting director of the mint. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee washes one-ounce silver coin blanks at the United States Mint at West Point in West Point, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Sales of gold and silver coins by the U.S. Mint may rise to a record this year if demand continues to remain at the current pace, according to Richard Peterson, acting director of the mint. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Don Daldo inspects a 2010 Sacagawea dollar coin at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. The U.S. dollar has risen 2.5 percent versus the euro since Jan. 31, heading for a third monthly gain, its longest stretch since November 2008. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A roll of metal for coin production sits at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. The U.S. dollar has risen 2.5 percent versus the euro since Jan. 31, heading for a third monthly gain, its longest stretch since November 2008. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 19: Twenty-five-dollar rolls of the new presidential one-dollar coin with the image of Abraham Lincoln are displayed for people to exchange after an introduction event at President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home November 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. The United States Mint introduced the coin on the 147th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The US flag hangs over gold bars in a vault at the United States Mint at West Point in West Point, New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Sales of gold and silver coins by the U.S. Mint may rise to a record this year if demand continues to remain at the current pace, according to Richard Peterson, acting director of the mint. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A sheet of United States one dollar bills is seen on a light table during production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS)
One ounce silver coins undergo washing at the cleaning facility at the United States West Point Mint facility in West Point, New York June 5, 2013. The appetite for U.S. American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins is still at unprecedentedly high levels almost two months after a historic sell-off in gold unleashed years of pent-up demand from retail investors, the head of the U.S. Mint said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES)
Freshly minted pennies sit in a collection bin at the United States Mint in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. The yen and dollar gained versus the euro and extended their first weekly advances in four weeks amid concern the global economic recovery may stall as stimulus measures wind down, reducing demand for riskier assets. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 08: A die, left, and hub for a 2007 quarter-dollar coin honoring Wyoming, are arranged for a photograph the at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007. (Photo by Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 08: Robert Wasner, metal foreman and machine operator at the U.S. Mint, visually inspects a 2007 James Madison Presidential one dollar coin after its striking in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007. (Photo by Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 08: Mike Spinosa, a pit driver at the U.S. Mint, transfers one cent blanks before they are struck into pennies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007. The dollar fell to a record low against the euro after Federal Reserve policy makers cut their benchmark interest rate by a quarter-percentage point. (Photo by Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The COINS Act had been introduced a few years ago by the two senators and others; it focused on replacing the $1 bill with a coin.

Although it is unclear why that legislation did not pass, the Wall Street Journal pointed out in 2013 that, according to the Federal Reserve, dollar coins were so unpopular that about $1.4 billion worth of them had been produced but were not being used.

A Fed official also suggested at the time that the switchover may not produce any cost savings at all due to increased expenses in other areas.

As for the penny, CNN Money reported last April that it costs 1.4 cents to make each one.

Despite the relatively low utilization rate, one group fighting to keep the penny—funded by the company that makes the metal sheets pennies are cut from—argues that the government will need to issue more nickels which it loses more on per coin—about 2.4 cents each.

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