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Reagan the new face of the $10 bill?
Conservatives will push for image of 40th president to grace $10 bill, $20 bill or dime.
June 11, 2004: 12:53 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Ronald Reagan's face could one day adorn the $10 bill or half the dimes minted in the country, if fans of the late president get their way.

Will Reagan replace the nation's first treasury secretary on the $10 bill?

On Tuesday Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that he is considering sponsoring legislation in the Senate to have Reagan's image replace that of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first treasury secretary, on the $10 bill.

Meanwhile, an effort is underway in the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), to put Reagan's face on the $20. And Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) wants to swap Reagan for John F. Kennedy on the 50-cent piece.

If either of the bill-changing efforts is successful, it would represent the first change a person on U.S. currency since 1929, when the nation's paper money was standardized in size and general design. Although various anti-counterfeiting measures have altered the look of paper notes since then, the principals depicted have not changed.

The proposal has the support of Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, which is headed by Grover Norquist, an influential conservative activist.

Democrats in Congress may not be ready to embrace the idea, though none has publicly declared opposition after Reagan's death Saturday.

A change would require majority votes in both houses of Congress.

On what currency should Ronald Reagan's image be placed?
  $10 bill
  $20 bill

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In the Republican-dominated House, passage of a bill seems achievable, according to Washington sources. In the Senate, however, cloture rules would allow the Democratic minority to block any legislation.

Proponents of Reaganized money, however, are proposing an alternative to paper: coins. Unlike decisions about notes, coins can be changed at the discretion of the Treasury Secretary.

Over at the Treasury Department, however, lips are tightly pursed on the notion of honoring the 40th president on money.

"It's premature to get into any discussions about it, including discussions of process or timing," said Ann Womack Colton, a Treasury spokeswoman.

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But GOP activist Norquist has said he has already had discussions with treasury secretary John Snow and senior White House staff about the idea, and found no opposition.

If Reagan is not put on the $10, an alternate proposal is to have half the nation's dimes carry Reagan's face, with the other half continuing to honor Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The idea of removing Roosevelt from the dime altogether in favor of Reagan had enough opposition, even from Nancy Reagan, to be dropped, USA Today reported.

But the Gipper's fans think giving equal time to Reagan and FDR strikes an appropriate compromise.

Ronald Wilson Reagan
U.S. Presidents

One person opposed to removing Hamilton from the $10 bill is Ron Chernow, author of an acclaimed biography of the revolutionary war hero and founding father.

He told USA Today that he believed even Reagan would have objected to the snub of Hamilton.

"Hamilton was the prophet of the capitalist system that Ronald Reagan so admired," he was quoted as saying.  Top of page

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