Sens. John McCain and Mike Enzi want to save billions of dollars by replacing paper dollar bills with coins.
The two Republicans on Wednesday unveiled the proposal as part of legislation aimed at reducing waste in the federal government. According to the two lawmakers, ditching the dollar bill for the "more sustainable and efficient dollar coin" would generate savings ranging from $4.4 billion up to $13.8 billion.
The savings would come by eliminating the need for the Treasury to spend more on printing money than the actual value of the dollar.
"I hear from Arizonans every day who are tired of seeing their limited tax dollars spent on wasteful government programs," said McCain of Arizona. "By reforming and modernizing America's outdated currency system, and moving forward with commonsense good government practices, this bill would enable our country to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic waste and generate billions in taxpayer savings."
The dollar coin idea has come up in past Congresses, and is usually opposed by members from Massachusetts, which is where the paper is made for the dollar bill.
The reform measure includes other savings strategies, including increased competition for federal contracts, improved management of federal properties and the elimination of duplication in information technology.
McCain is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Enzi, of Wyoming, is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not announced whether he will take up the proposal.