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White House won't rule out $1T coin proposal

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Even though it sounds like a headline in The Onion, a White House spokesman Wednesday repeatedly refused to rule out a bizarre-sounding proposal to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin that would allow the federal government to unilaterally raise the debt-ceiling if Congress fails to act.

During a briefing with reporters, press secretary Jay Carney flatly said there is “no plan B, there is no backup plan” to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debts if Congress refuses to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. Even so, he did not rule out the seemingly far-fetched $1 trillion coin idea.

The mammoth $1 trillion coin idea works something like this: The Treasury Department would produce the coin by exploiting a loophole in U.S. law giving departments the ability to mint platinum coins in any denomination. It  then would deposit the coin with the Federal Reserve to allow the Treasury to continue to pay its bills.

“The option here is for Congress to do its job and pay its bills — bills that have already been racked up,” Mr. Carney added.

Earlier in the briefing, the White House said it would not entertain a proposal to lift the debt ceiling by executive order, saying it doesn’t believe it has the authority to do so.

Mr. Carney also said the White House would not negotiate with Congress over raising the limit, vowing that no one in the administration or the president would discuss the matter with Republican members of Congress.

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Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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