The House passed a bill Tuesday to replace the American eagle on the backs of quarters with designs celebrating each of the 50 states.
The new quarters - George Washington would remain on the face - would be issued from 1999 to 2008 under the bill passed on a 413-6 vote.
The coins would be similar to the ones issues in honor of the bicentennial in 1976, said Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., chairman of the House Banking Committee’s panel on domestic and international monetary policy.
The program would be “educational and fun, would promote pride among the states and would be a winner financially for the government,” Castle said during debate on the House floor.
At the urging of the Treasury Department, Castle’s subcommittee added an amendment specifying that “no portrait of a living person shall be included in any design.”
That came after speculation in the Chicago Tribune that basketball star Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls could grace Illinois’ coin.
Moreover, it gives the Treasury secretary final say on each design and orders says that he or she “shall not select any frivolous or inappropriate design.”