Senate Advances Lincoln Coinage Measure

WASHINGTON - The Senate gave the green light Thursday to a proposal to have the Treasury Department issue a half-million $1 commemorative coins in 2009 to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

The measure had more than 70 Senate sponsors, including Illinois Democratic senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. It now heads to the House, where another Illinoisan, GOP Rep. Ray LaHood, is among the sponsors.

The proposal is part of a package of plans prepared by the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission established by Congress to organize the observance of the anniversary of the birth of the nation’s 16th president.

“Abraham Lincoln is a true American hero, and his life can provide inspiration to Americans of any age and background,” said Durbin, a commission co-chair, along with LaHood. “Lincoln demonstrated enormous courage and strength of character during the Civil War and throughout his life, ensuring that the United States remained one nation, united and inseparable.”

Supporters of the martyred Republican president say the special series of dollar coins will pay tribute to the former Illinois resident’s life and work.

The design for the coin would be determined by the secretary of the Treasury Department, after consultation with the Commission of Fine Arts and the bicentennial commission. It also would be reviewed by a citizens’ coinage advisory committee.

Last year, the Congress approved plans to issue a series of one-cent coins in 2009 to honor the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.


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