Barney Frank helping push to repeal coin melt ban <HR style="COLOR: #d1d1e1" SIZE=1>http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing...-pennies_N.htm All in the name of creating jobs . . . ? Treasury says its going to cost a million bucks a day . . . ? Ohio Dem: Repeal ban on melting coins By Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — A House Democrat is looking to overturn a recent U.S. Treasury ban on melting pennies to extract the copper, a move that could help the vulnerable freshman while costing taxpayers a million dollars a day. The bill's sponsor is Democrat Zack Space of Ohio, who won a normally reliable Republican seat last fall after the GOP incumbent, Bob Ney, did not seek re-election after being involved in a corruption scandal that led to a prison sentence. Space says his proposal is aimed at benefiting a company in his district, Jackson Metals, whose president says he would employ 30 people if he were allowed to melt down pre-1982 pennies, which are 95% copper. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Space's bill next week. In December, the U.S. Treasury issued a ban on melting pennies and nickels because precious metals prices had soared to the point that the coins themselves exceeded their face value. The Treasury said the cost of replacing those coins "could well be in excess of $1 million a day," the U.S. Mint said in the Federal Register. Space, whose measure would end the melting ban, argues his bill would save the government money, although he can't explain how that squares with the Mint's estimates. The Mint declined to comment on the bill. "We're not trying to pull a fast one," he said. "We're trying to save the taxpayers money, and in the process if we can put 30 people to work in a distressed area, then all the better." In an interview, Jackson Metals' president, Walter Luhrman, said the government would not have to produce more pennies if his company was allowed to melt them down, because there is already an overall surplus. The Mint produces new pennies each year only because there are shortages in some places, he said. Luhrman said he could save taxpayers money by selling the pennies he doesn't melt to banks and currency handling companies in cities with shortages. "During the first 90 days I would save them $5.25 million," Luhrman said. In an editorial this week, the country's leading coin magazine disputed that. "If you do the math, he's helping himself, but I'm not sure how he's going to save money for the American taxpayer," Beth Deisher, editor of Coin World, said of Luhrman. "I've seen no evidence of shortages." Luhrman, who identifies himself as a lifelong Republican, said he would support Space for re-election next year, but he has not contributed to Space's campaign, which has raised $817,000 this year. "I thought it would be extremely bad form," Luhrman said. The bill was scheduled for a committee vote Wednesday without a public hearing. Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., "has vowed to move this bill through the committee very quickly thanks to Space's request," Space's office said in a news release last week. On Wednesday, amid controversy over this and an unrelated part of the bill, Frank decided to delay the vote and hold a hearing, his spokesman Steven Adamsky said.