WASHINGTON -- In the wake of news that both the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve rejected the minting of a trillion dollar coin as a solution to help raise the debt ceiling, the White House issued the following statement to The Huffington Post.
"There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or they can fail to act and put the nation into default," said Press Secretary Jay Carney. "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 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."
If there were any lingering doubts about how the Obama administration will handle the debt-ceiling issue, Saturday's pronouncements put them to rest. Moments before Carney offered his statement, Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley offered one of his own, declaring that "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."
And so, there will be no coin minted to assist Treasury with its efforts to help the country meet its financial obligations. The politics of the debt ceiling standoff are now a bit simpler.
On the one hand is an administration that has said it won't negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. On the other hand are congressional Republicans, who have threatened to default unless they receive a significant amount of spending cuts or entitlement reforms first. There are no outs for either side. And while that makes the showdown far riskier, the administration also thinks it helps its hand in negotiations.
"This now puts all the pressure back where we believe it belongs: on the Republicans," a senior administration official told the Huffington Post. "There are no magic coins. There is no way to get out of this. We feel fine about the politics of it. We think we are in a stronger position if Republicans realize there is no out."