‘Platinum coin’ now a campaign attack

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is attacking potentially vulnerable Democratic senators over the possibility that President Obama will bypass Congress on the debt ceiling by producing a platinum coin worth enough to delay default. 

The Republican effort is pretty small -- statements to local media in 10 states whose senators will be up for reelection in 2014. The National Republican Congressional Committee is simultaneously pressuring House Democrats to disavow the coin option. It will probably stay small, because the coin option is a serious long shot. The only member of Congress to discuss or propose legislation involving a platinum coin is Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who would ban it.

But the potential political backlash plays a big part in the debate among liberals over whether paying off debt with a newly minted coin is feasible. Republicans are clearly signaling that they plan to use it against congressional Democrats should it ever become a real option.

And asked recently about the coin, White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to rule it out as an option — though he repeatedly indicated that there “is no plan B” to congressional action.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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Rachel Weiner · January 11, 2013