Before it was passed Sept. 25, the House version of The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 2519), had garnered more cosponsors (385) than any other coin bill authorized in the past decade.
That kind of support for the legislation, which was signed into law Oct. 6 by President Donald Trump, is proof to U.S. Sen Todd Young of the respect members of Congress have for the Legion.
“This commemorative coin bill, like all commemorative coin bills, is not exactly easy to get through Congress,” Young told Legionnaires and the media during an event Oct. 10 at the Legion’s National Headquarters in Indianapolis. “Commemorative coin bills require at least 67 senators to cosponsor, and at least 290 members of the House of Representatives to cosponsor before they can be considered before either chamber.
“When’s the last time you saw 67 senators agree on anything? Or 290 members of the House? That really tells you something about how highly regarded the Legion is on Capitol Hill.”
The Indiana senator was joined at the event by American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan, who praised Young for his role as lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, where it had 75 cosponsors. “When asked to lead this veterans-centric effort, it took him all but 10 seconds to say yes,” said Rohan.
Rohan also thanked House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC) Chairman Rep. Phil Roe, HVAC Ranking Member Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (SVAC) Sen. Johnny Isakson and SVAC Ranking Member Sen. Jon Tester for their support, as well as the president for signing the bill.
Young, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and member of The American Legion Department of Indiana, praised his colleagues in both parties in the House and Senate for their support and efforts. “Politics is a team sport, and you cannot get consequential things done unless you’re working in a bipartisan way on behalf of the common good,” he said.
Passage of the coin bill was possible, Young said, because of all that the Legion does for the nation. “The American Legion is a critical advocate for veterans, and for promoting patriotism and service,” he said. “Legion members are instrumental in the betterment of our communities and our nation as a whole. Through your commitment, collectively and individually, to supporting and caring for our veterans, protecting our national security, promoting patriotism and American values, and providing valuable programs for our children, The American Legion reminds us of what is best about America.”
The legislation requires the Department of Treasury to mint and issue gold, silver and half-dollar clad coins in celebration of the centennial of the Legion, for one year, beginning in January 2019. All surcharges received from the sale of The American Legion centennial coin will help raise money for Legion programs that support veterans, servicemembers and their families, as well as commemorate important aspects of American history and culture.
The funds gained from sales will support caring for those who served and are currently serving in the armed forces, and programs that maintain patriotic values, strong families and assistance for at-risk children.
Congress only authorizes the minting of two new coins each year.
“There are those who question why The American Legion put so much energy and focus into passing a centennial coin bill,” Rohan said. “The answer is rather simple and veteran-centric: The funds generated from the coin will directly help our nation’s heroes and their families.
“Without Legion family members getting active, calling their members of Congress – and sometimes it was more than just once – this would have never happened.”