The White House has ruled out minting a coin worth $1 trillion to pay the government's bills and avoid a nasty battle with Congress over the debt ceiling.
Some of President Barack Obama's liberal allies have been promoting the coin strategy.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney nixed that option Saturday. Carney says there are just two options: Congress either can pay the tab for spending it has racked up or it can send the nation into default, which would have serious economic consequences.
The government already has reached its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit. By late February or early March, the Treasury Department will run out of ways to cover debts and could begin defaulting on government loans.
The trillion-dollar coin was an idea by a Georgia lawyer who uses the name "Beowulf" online according to a Wired.com article published this week.
The Georgia lawyer told Wired that a 2009 Wall Street Journal article was his inspiration. His idea really took off when he commented on his idea in a section of financier Warren Mosler's blog. Beowulf stated to Wired that anonymous supporters helped his idea gain national attention.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.