11:15 am Jan. 8, 2013
Rep. Jerry Nadler's suggestion that President Obama use a trillion-dollar coin to get around a fight with Congress over the debt ceiling has officially spread beyond the liberal wonks who have used it to suggest the co-equal absurdity of Republican threats not to pay the nation's bills.
The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and even Steven Colbert, analyzed the coin solution last night and this morning, as Republicans tried to use the coverage for campaign-related purposes.
The National Republican Campaign Committee sent out an email targeted at seven Democratic members (including Nadler), asking whether they agree with Nadler.
“It’s time for Jerrold Nadler to choose,” said the group's communications director Andrea Bozek, in the release. “Will he sign our petition and admit that spending is the problem or will he continue to stand with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi in believing that the only answer to our nation’s problems is to raise taxes and create trillion-dollar coins?”
In fact, Obama's press secretary has dismissed less-easily lampoonable debt-ceiling workarounds in the past, like the one Pelosi alluded to when she told "Face the Nation" this weekend that she believes the president has a constitutional authority to pay the nation's debt, enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Journal, in a piece headlined "'Joke' Solution to Debt Clash Gets Serious Study," led with Nadler's proclamation that he's "absolutely serious" about the coin as its lead quote (which for the record comes from a Capital article, since the Journal gives no link or attribution), and noted the opposition from Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who wants to close the statutory loophole that allows for the possibility. Nadler didn't invent the coin idea, but his advocacy for it led to the current, full-fledged debate.
The Washington Post focused its Wonkbook email and column on the coin.
And Stephen Colbert devoted a few minutes to the idea last night.
"We should have known that a coin was Obama's solution to everything. It was right there in his slogan: change."
Colbert suggested a "bald eagle breathing fire while making love to the American flag" for the back of the coin, but dismissed the idea of Obama or John Boehner (as Nadler, among others, suggested) on the front.
"I'll tell you what it should be: those Charmin bears," he said. "Because when you pull an idea like this out of your ass, you're going to need something soft.
CORRECTION: This story originally misstated the first name of Rep. Walden. It is Greg, not Jack.