U.S. Mint Director Edmund Moy announced today
they will cease production of the U.S. cent immediately. "We met as a staff and decided a change is warranted at this time," Moy told a group of reporters in the U.S. Mint Pressroom.
Speculation had been mounting that the Mint would make a change soon. Recent public opinion polls suggested that removing the penny from circulation would be well-received and have little impact on the economy.
When asked why they're moving ahead with this change without congressional approval, Moy answered, "I consulted with the Attorney General and he advised me congressional approval wasn't necessary, despite what the constitution says. This is a decision that the executive branch has complete authority to make. Since I serve at the pleasure of the President, I made the call. It's a done deal."
When asked to further clarify if it was his decision solely, or made collectively by his staff (as stated earlier in the press conference), he suddenly didn't recall details of the meeting.
"I'm not really involved with the day-to-day, I don't recall who actually made the decision."
When further pressed about the details of the decision, Mint Director Moy stated that the penny has been prominently involved with financial transactions involving well-known terror groups.
"Listen, we're trying to protect the American public from the terrorists by eliminating the penny. The security of the nation depends on this action. I think the American people know exactly what the threat is and we're just doing what's in their best interest."
Moy added, "To protect freedom, we're going to aggressively prosecute anyone attempting to use a penny, or even carry a penny."
The new rule goes into effect April 1, 2007.