On January 14, Greg Walden, the GOP Rep. who has said he would introduce a bill to ban Treasury from minting a trillion dollar coin will introduce his bill, the “Stop The Coin Act.”
His office is seeking co-sponsors for the legislation.
Staffers on Capitol hill have received this letter.
Staff- Rep. XXXXX invites your boss to join him as original cosponsor of a bill to prevent the Treasury from issuing a platinum coin(s) valued at an absurd level in a scheme to pay off a portion or all of the federal debt in order to avert the fiscal cliff. Yes, this loophole does in fact exist as detailed in the following dear colleague letter and attached one-pager. XXXX will be introducing the bill with original cosponsors next Monday, January 14. Attached is a one-pager. If you have questions, my direct is XXXXX If your boss would like to join, please let me know.
Here’s the attached “one-pager” that’s being sent around in order to drum up support:
The Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 provides the legislative branch the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof. Federal law provides the Secretary of the Treasury the ability to mint and issue various denominations and types of coins. The law specifies many attributes of the various coins that can be minted and how the Secretary is able to issue them as legal tender. The law also specifies how the sale price of certain coins (i.e. Silver, Gold, Palladium) are to be valued. Currently, federal law allows the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to mint “platinum bullion coins” and “proof platinum coins” and issue them at a value determined at his own discretion. Unlike other authorities within the law that limit and restrict the Secretary from selling gold coins to the public at a price greater than the market value of the metal at the time of sale plus the cost of producing, marketing and distributing the coins, the law is silent as to how much the platinum coins could be sold for. Within the last week, numerous media reports (example here ) have suggested that the U.S. Mint (Treasury) could create trillion dollar platinum coins, which would then be deposited into the Federal Reserve to be used to pay the federal government’s bills or avoid hitting the debt ceiling.
Purpose The STOP THE COIN ACT would prevent the Secretary of the Treasury from minting platinum coins that could then be sold to the Federal Reserve and used to offset our national debt or prevent reaching the debt ceiling. The bill simply closes a loophole in the law by applying the existing limitations on how the Treasury could price gold coins or gold bullion to the Treasury’s authority to mint and sell platinum bullion coins or proofs platinum coins. This bill would not prevent the Treasury or Mint from producing commemorative platinum coins for circulation or sale, but it would take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury from printing mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt or avert a debt ceiling fight. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, touted the proposal last week (story here ). New York Times columnist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman suggested the idea in an article as well (click here ). Other leaders in Washington, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have urged the President to raise the debt limit unilaterally without permission from Congress.
Of course, there’s zero chance this will ever pass both houses, but if it did, it would also need the President’s signature. Presuming he ever planned to actually MintTheCoin, there’s no chance it would be solved.
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