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US snubs platinum coins as debt remedy

Jan 13 2013 17:23 Reuters

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Washington - The US Treasury Department said on Saturday it will not produce platinum coins as a way of generating $1 trillion in revenue and avoiding a battle in Congress over raising the US debt ceiling.

The idea of minting $1 trillion in platinum coins has gained some currency among Democrats in recent days, with Republicans threatening to hold up an increase in the debt ceiling unless deep spending cuts are made.

The United States is expected to reach its debt limit in February.

"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," said Treasury spokesperson Anthony Coley in a statement.

Congress' refusal in 2011 to raise the debt ceiling unless the White House agreed to large spending cuts brought the United States close to the brink of a debt default and dealt the weak recovery a setback.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that with the platinum coin question resolved, the pressure is on congressional Republicans now to act to raise the debt ceiling.

"Congress can pay its bills or they can fail to act and put the nation into default," he said. "When congressional Republicans played politics with this issue last time, putting us at the edge of default, it was a blow to our economic recovery, causing our nation's credit rating to be downgraded."

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