The debt ceiling deadline may be a few months away, but members are already gearing up for a new round of fighting, with the latest back and forth bordering on the absurd.
National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said he will introduce a bill when the House reconvenes to prevent President Barack Obama from authorizing the Federal Reserve to print a $1 trillion platinum coin.
“This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren’t so serious about it as a solution. I’m introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks,” Walden said in a statement Monday.
The only problem is, Obama never said he would even attempt the gambit.
The idea was propagated by Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who told a local news outlet recently that Obama could avoid the debt ceiling fight by asking the Federal Reserve to print the platinum coin and then deposit it into the Treasury. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote about the idea on Monday as well.
The White House has repeatedly said it does not believe it can use an option many Democrats have urged him to use — taking executive action to raise the debt limit unilaterally by claiming the 14th Amendment forbids a government default.
But the coin scheme could be legal because the Fed can print non-gold and non-silver coins in any denomination.
Walden, however, said his bill will fix that.
“My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt. We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order,” Walden said.
There is no word on whether the Senate plans to take up Walden’s bill.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.