Rep. Greg Walden to introduce bill fighting 'trillion dollar coins'

THE DALLES, Ore. - U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Monday he plans to introduce a new bill to stop a proposal to mint trillion dollar platinum coins to pay the federal government's bills.

"Some people are in denial about the need to reduce spending and balance the budget. This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren't so serious about it as a solution. I'm introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks," Rep. Walden said in a news release.

A legal loophole allows the U.S. Treasury to mint platinum coins in whatever denomination it chooses - even $1 trillion. Minting such high-value coins to pay the government's bills would allow President Obama to sidestep a showdown with Republicans over the federal debt ceiling.

"My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn't just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air. We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That's what Washington needs to do as well."

Within the last week, some reports suggested that the U.S. Mint could create trillion dollar platinum coins and deposit them into the Federal Reserve to pay the federal government's bills or avoid hitting the debt ceiling.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, touted the proposal last week.

New York Times columnist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman also suggested the idea in an article.

Walden said his bill will disallow the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt.

"We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order," Walden said.

Walden, a Republican, represents Oregon's Second District, which includes 20 counties in the southern, central and eastern regions of the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this story