The White House has ruled out minting a platinum 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 on 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 US 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.