Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2014

Desperately Seeking Debt Limit Solutions

The fight over the debt ceiling is back, as evidenced by President Barack Obama’s combative news conference Monday and the GOP’s barbed reaction to it.

Even with the pretty fantastic solutions already offered up — minting a trillion-dollar coin, issuing scrips, pretending like it doesn’t exist — we figured HOH should offer our own readers the opportunity to chime in.

What else can the country do to avoid the need for all this debt limit nastiness? Don’t be afraid to come up with something bizarre.

This go-round has been somewhat out there already, with people struggling to glom onto a solution that no one’s heard of before and smacks of genius. This is where the trillion-dollar coin idea came into play, although, sadly, the Treasury Department and White House said over the weekend they wouldn’t be minting any platinum coins, assigning them arbitrary values and depositing them in the Federal Reserve to chip away at the debt.

Some members of Congress have advocated the president invoke the 14th Amendment — which states that the “validity of the public debt of the United States” won’t be questioned — to bypass Republican opposition and kick up the debt ceiling. Others have said Obama could just ignore the debt limit and keep issuing debt on the market in the form of bonds.

Another novel approach was broached in the New York Times by Edward D. Kleinbard, a former chief of staff at the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation and a law professor at the University of Southern California. He said one way around the debt ceiling is for the administration to “threaten to issue scrip — ‘registered warrants’ — to existing claims holders (other than those who own actual government debt) in lieu of money. Recipients of these I.O.U.’s could include federal employees, defense contractors, Medicare service providers, Social Security recipients and others.”

Readers, we figure you can do better than this. So send in your solutions to HOH@rollcall.com. The crazier the better. Remember, folks, one man’s fever dream could be just what the nation needs to avert another fiscal cliff/debt ceiling supercommittee disaster of doom.

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