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White House rules out unilateral debt ceiling hike, not trillion-dollar coin

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama’s spokesman bobbed and weaved and generally refused to rule out the possibility that the Treasury Department might mint a coin worth $1 trillion if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, although he ruled out raising the debt ceiling unilaterally.

“There is no Plan B, there is no back-up plan, there is Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills of the United States,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked if Obama believes he has the authority to have such a coin minted. “There is no substitute” for a debt ceiling hike.

Carney said Obama doesn’t plan to raise the debt ceiling under the 14th Amendment.  “We just don’t believe that [the 14th Amendment] provides the authority that some believe that it does,” he explained when asked to respond to Democratic calls for such a unilateral debt ceiling increase.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., disagrees. “If I were president, I would use the 14th Amendment, which says that the United States will always be paying … I would just go do it,” Pelosi said Sunday.

When asked why he would rule out the 14th Amendment option, but was being “evasive” about the coin idea,  Carney said that “nothing needs to come of these kinds of speculative notions” — he did not say that nothing can come of them.

 

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