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White House downplays, but doesn't rule out trillion dollar coin proposal

White House downplays, but doesn't rule out trillion dollar coin proposal


Press Secretary Jay Carney sidesteps questions about proposed debt solution, but says raising US borrowing limits remains most sensible option

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Platinum Coin
Platinum Coin

The White House today weighed in on the possibility of minting a trillion dollar platinum coin, telling reporters that there is "no substitute" for simply raising the US' borrowing limit, but declining to explicitly rule it out as a potential solution to American debt problems.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney fielded several questions about the trillion dollar coin during his daily press briefing Wednesday, as reporters pressed him to clarify the Obama administration's position. Carney largely downplayed the option, telling the press that Congress should be able to solve the problem on its own, though he stopped short of ruling it out entirely.

"Nothing needs to come to these kinds of speculative notions."

"You can speculate about lots of things," Carney said. "Nothing needs to come to these kinds of speculative notions about a problem that can be resolved by Congress doing its job."

The option, which exploits a legal loophole that allows Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination, has received support from some on the left, who believe it could allow President Obama to avoid potentially excruciating negotiations with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling. The rationale is that by minting such a valuable coin and depositing it in the Federal Reserve, the US would be able to pay down its debt without raising the ceiling.

Republicans, meanwhile, have already announced plans to introduce legislation that would block Treasury from minting the trillion dollar coin, with GOP Rep. Greg Walden calling the option "absurd and dangerous." Carney, meanwhile, says he is unaware of whether or not the White House has internally discussed the possibility. "The president's belief is Congress needs to do its job," Carney said.