U.S. Treasury: $1 Trillion Platinum Coin Is Not An Option

In a blow to the movement’s supporters, the U.S. Treasury announced Saturday that it would not mint a $1 trillion platinum coin in order to ensure the nation’s creditworthiness should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling.

”Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement obtained by TPM.

The White House has also previously ruled out invoking the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.

“There is no backup plan,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier this week. “The only option is for Congress to do its job.”

Despite that, top Senate Democrats have publicly pressured the administration to use all available legal means in the case that Congressional Republicans force the country to default on its obligations.

“In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt limit extension as part of an unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promise and trigger a global economic crisis — without Congressional approval, if necessary,” they wrote in a letter on Friday.

The Treasury announcement was first reported by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post.

UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued an additional statement strongly denouncing brinksmanship over the debt limit:

There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default.  When Congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time, putting us at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation’s credit rating to be downgraded.  The President and the American people won’t tolerate Congressional Republicans holding the American economy hostage again simply so they can force disastrous cuts to Medicare and other programs the middle class depend on while protecting the wealthy.  Congress needs to do its job.

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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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