During his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked repeatedly about the $1 trillion coin option to raising the debt ceiling. Carney wouldn’t tip the president’s hand by saying yes or no.
Chuck Todd asked Carney about the trillion dollar coin, and he answered, “I would simply go back to what I said. The option here is for Congress to do it’s job and pay its bills. Bills that have already been racked up.” After Carney danced and reminded people about what the last debt ceiling crisis did to the economy, he was asked if the White House believed that they have the power to mint this coin. The Press Secretary answered, “There is no Plan B. There is no backup plan. There is Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills of the United States. This is not about future spending.” Carney was asked a third time, and he answered this is no option other than Congress doing its job. When Carney was asked if he would totally rule it out, he said, “You can speculate about a lot of things. Nothing needs to come to these kinds of speculative notions about how to deal with a problem that is easily resolved by Congress doing its job.”
I believe that would be a no. The $1 trillion coin is not ruled out.
Like any good negotiator the president isn’t going to rule anything out at this stage. The White House is not about to give House Republicans a potential way out of this mess besides raising the debt ceiling on their own. It was telling that Carney quickly and specifically ruled out using the 14th Amendment, but he would not do the same for the trillion dollar coin.
The press secretary said numerous times that the only option on the table was for Congress to pay their bills by raising the debt ceiling. If Obama would announce tomorrow that he is going to act unilaterally and mint the coin, the political backlash could be huge for both the president and the Democratic Party. The president has built his popularity on being willing to move to the middle and listen. Even if the White House is considering minting the coin, it would be best if they kept quiet, and used it as an option of dead last resort.
The Obama administration is determined not to help the Republicans get out of their latest debt ceiling mess. If House Republicans knew that the coin option was on the table, they would ratchet up the crisis and put the pressure on Obama to mint the coin and deal with the consequences of his action.
The White House is keeping all the pressure on House Republicans, and their unwillingness to tip their hand reveals an administration that is in control of and setting the conditions for the resolution to the latest manufactured Republican fiscal crisis.