By Edward Epstein
Feb. 15, 2022
A bipartisan duo of congressmen from Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, have introduced legislation for the U.S. government to mint a coin commemorating this year's centennial of the Lincoln Memorial, with proceeds going to the structure's long-term maintenance fund.
Republican Rep. Darin LaHood (on the left in the photo) and Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (on the right) have introduced H.R. 6681, calling for the minting of the special coin. The federal government has raised more than $500 million over the years by minting such coins, with the proceeds above the coins' face value going for such projects as the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall and the construction of new museums.
The legislation should be non-controversial and requires House and Senate passage and President Joe Biden's signature before the coins can be struck. The design of the coins has yet to be disclosed. The bill has been assigned to the House Financial Services Committee.
Krishnamoorthi and LaHood, both Lincoln fans, have cooperated on Lincoln legislation before. They were behind the creation in 2019 of the Lincoln Room off Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, just feet from the spot where Abraham Lincoln's desk was situated in his single term in the House, from 1847-49. The Lincoln Group also pushed for the room's establishment. The room contains Lincoln memorabilia.
Krishnamoorthi represents the Chicago area while LaHood's district is in downstate Illinois. The two have struck up a friendship across the aisle in today's highly partisan Congress. In addition to legislative efforts, they say they fly together to and from Washington when Congress is in session, to Chicago.
The Lincoln Group plans a big celebration for the Lincoln Memorial's 100th birthday, highlighted by a program on Sunday May 22 on the steps of the memorial co-sponsored with the National Park Service. There will be speakers, music and readings from Lincoln by actor Stephen Lang at the event, which starts at 10 a.m. On May 21, the group will sponsor a film program with the American Film Institute at the AFI in Silver Spring, Maryland. The time and the movie that will be screened have yet to be determined.