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President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Oval Office, Aug. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news or
If Republicans force President Obama to choose between default and the trillion dollar coin option, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) is implicitly conceding the trillion dollar coin is perfectly viable
It's looking more and more likely that congressional Republicans aren't actually serious about blocking an increase the debt ceiling, a move that could push us into default. But if they have a change of heart and decide to push us to the brink, one of President Obama's best options for mitigating the fallout just got an unlikely boost from none other than Oregon's Congressman Greg Walden, who serves in the House Republican leadership.

Walden, it turns out, has written legislation that would bar the executive branch from minting coins of any denomination. That would include the much-talked-about trillion dollar coin, which would allow the U.S. government to continue to meet its obligation in the event Congress refuses to raise the debt limit. And, as Joe Weisenthal points out, by introducing legislation to ban such a maneuver, Walden is implicitly acknowledging that under current law, the trillion dollar coin is a perfectly legal and workable way to get around the debt limit.

I'll admit that the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin is completely absurd. But it's a heck of a lot less absurd than allowing Republicans to tank the national and global economy over a budget fight. And while it may sound like it gives the president power he shouldn't have, remember that it wouldn't allow any money to be spent that hadn't already been authorized by Congress. It simply would allow the United States to make good on its debt obligations. Moreover, as soon as a rational Congress were returned to power, the coin could be "repurchased" along with an increase in (or repeal of) the debt limit.

Personally, I don't think it'll ever come to this. If Republicans were actually serious about doing something this reckless, their financial backers would only need to convince about 20 of them to join with Democrats in raising the debt limit. But it's nice to know that even if Republicans do head down that path, there's nothing to fear, because as even Greg Walden concedes, nothing can stop President Obama from minting that coin.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:46 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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