The Constitution gives Congress the proverbial “power of the purse,” but Democrats want to settle this battle over the debt cap by having President Obama seize that power for himself by suggesting that the 14th amendment, somehow, gives him authority to ignore Congressional spending limits.
As fears intensify that Congress will not pass a debt limit increase in time to avoid default, some Democrats are pulling out their pocket Constitutions to find a back-up plan.
Assistant Minority Leader Rep. James Clyburn, R-S.C., said today that if a long-term deal is not struck by Aug. 2, President Obama should sign an executive order raising the debt ceiling without Congressional approval. He said this action would be justified because of a section in the 14th Amendment that states that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”
“I am convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of that can continue,” Clyburn said. “But I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people, and will bring needed stability to our financial markets.”
But President Obama is saying he won’t go it alone:
A rising number of Democrats are asking President Obama to take executive action and raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling on his own, but Obama aides continue to say he lacks the authority and that Congress has the exclusive responsibility.
“There are no off-ramps,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “There’s no way around this. There’s no escape.”
I’m convinced that the folks in the Obama administration want to go past the deadline without a debt ceiling hike. Congress won’t pass a bill prioritizing spending, so that will be left up to Obama’s Treasury Department which will be sure to make it as painful as possible, blaming Republicans all the way.