Since there is no apparent restriction on how many or what denomination of platinum coins can be stamped by the federal government, all it would take is for President Obama to have one $1 trillion coin struck and deposited in the treasury. Pundits had speculated for weeks about the possibility of an end-run around congressional approval of a debt ceiling increase, with politicians also offering their two cents on the prospect.
But Treasury Department spokesman Anthony Coley told The Washington Post the Federal Reserve wouldn't accept such a coin.
"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," Coley told the newspaper.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Friday sent Obama a letter encouraging him to "to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global crisis -- without congressional approval, if necessary," the Post noted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., replied with a statement saying, "Democrats are looking at everything from the ridiculous (printing a trillion-dollar coin) to outright abdication of congressional responsibility. But avoiding this problem will only make it worse."
Congress has until mid-February to act on the debt ceiling.