International counterfeiters may soon face a U.S. government task force whose sole purpose is to pinpoint the world's primary producers of fake U.S. bills.

Reps. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and John M. Spratt Jr., D-S.C., introduced a bill Tuesday to create an anti-counterfeiting group of experts from the Secret Service, the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the State Department.

The bill also would require the State Department to hire 27 new Secret Service agents to combat international counterfeiting. This would double the Secret Service's anti-counterfeiting presence outside of America.

"International counterfeiting is a growing problem, and we have not kept pace," Rep. Bachus said. "We don't have the resources or manpower to evaluate and combat the overseas counterfeiting of United States currency."

Both Congress and the Treasury Department are concerned that Middle Eastern terrorists, the Colombian drug cartel, and the Iranian government, among others, are counterfeiting billions of dollars each year to pay for their clandestine acts.

The congressional action follows a federal decision to produce a new, harder-to-counterfeit $100 bill, which will be released March 25.

- John Duchemin, Medill News Service

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