On Wednesday, House Democrats urged President Obama to bypass Congress and invoke the so-called “14th Amendment option” if Congress fails to pass a measure aimed at raising the debt ceiling.
Jonathon M. Seidl writes at The Blaze:
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, a member of the Democratic leadership, said he told fellow Democrats that Obama should both veto any House GOP plan for a short-term extension of the debt ceiling and invoke the 14th amendment, which says that the validity of the nation’s public debt “shall not be questioned.”
So far, the Administration has rejected using the clause. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the option was “not available.”
Some Democrats, however, believe the President has no other option but to usurp Congress and go it alone.
“Mr. President, Republicans through their failure have given you license to do whatever it takes to not let the American family go down into that abyss with House Republicans,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) said.
Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Chair of the Democratic Caucus, called the move a “failsafe mechanism.”
”…We have to have a failsafe mechanism and we believe that failsafe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States,” he reportedly said.
Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) also called on the President to rule by fiat and invoke the 14th Amendment.
Former President Bill Clinton also advised Obama to bypass Congress:
Former President Bill Clinton said that if he were in President Obama’s shoes, he would bypass Congress on the debt and invoke the 14th Amendment “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.”
“I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy,” he told National Memo’s Joe Conason.
But such a move on the part of the President would cause a firestorm in Congress, with the possibility that some would introduce articles of impeachment against Obama.
In early July, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) said that move would be an “impeachable act” that could cause Americans to rise in revolt:
While speaking at a Tea Party event in Charleston, SC, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) said that if President Obama tries to bypass Congress to borrow beyond the debt limit, he would consider it an “impeachable act.”
Scott said it would be “catastrophic” if the President tried to “usurp the entire system set up by our Founding Fathers over something this significant.”
Earlier, conservative talk show host Mark Levin said Obama should be impeached if he “attempts to destroy the Separation of Powers doctrine” and “seize Congressional power” for himself.
“A number of people I communicated with this past week thought that the president invoking the 14th Amendment to justify federal borrowing would lead to impeachment proceedings in the House, even if there is little chance that the Senate would ever vote to convict,” Stan Collender said, according to a post at Forbes.
David Frum also wrote about what he called “…an impending constitutional crisis.”
He concludes the best thing would be to “just lift the debt ceiling to give all parties more time to work out their differences?” AKPC_IDS += “96272,”;
Based on the reluctance of the President to give on his socialist dream of high taxes and income redistribution, and the reluctance of the Republicans to hand Obama a blank check with the power to dictate economic policy, it is highly unlikely the differences can be worked out until Obama is replaced by a more reasonable Chief Executive.
Frum is right about one thing – if the President invokes the 14th Amendment, Republicans will have “a non-trivial argument that the Secretary of the Treasury and the president are emitting debt not only in violation of statute law, but in violation of Congress’ supreme authority over public finances.”
As much as the President might wish he had dictatorial power to change laws as he sees fit, Obama still has to follow the Constitution.
Brian Koenig, writing about Steve King’s tweet threatening impeachment if the President blocks debt payments, observes: “Indeed, for Superman Obama, the Constitution is kryptonite.”
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