No More Debt Cap?


One of the provisions in the “fiscal cliff” deal President Obama has offered Republicans is unilateral control over the debt cap. What that would mean is that the President could raise the nation’s authorization to accumulate debt on his own, without any sort of consent from Congress.

Normally, you would expect a bi-partisan rejection of this sort of offer from Congress. Democrat or Republican, members of the legislative branch typically don’t like ceding authority to the executive branch.

But as far as Nancy Pelosi is concerned, the President can have unilateral authority over the debt ceiling:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday that Congress should hand over to President Barack Obama the power to unilateral increase the limit on the U.S. government’s debt.

In effect, under the plan Pelosi is endorsing, the only limit on the national debt would be President Obama’s willingness to borrow money in the name of American taxpayers.

At a Friday press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi if she agreed with a proposal made by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that Congress give Obama the power to unilaterally increase the debt limit.

“Yes,” she said.

Sure. Why would a nation $16 trillion in debt already, and adding another $1 trillion or so every year, need any sort of restraint on debt accumulation? Even a ceiling as historically porous as this one has been:

Those in favor of being rid of the debt ceiling (which is what we’d be doing by giving the president unilateral control of it) talk about it as though the debate and brinkmanship which takes place around it were a detriment to the nation. In reality, it seems these debt ceiling debates are the only choke point in national politics which forces a real debate over taxes and spending.

Shouldn’t we have this sort of debate before authorizing the adding of trillions of dollars in new debt for our sons and daughters and grand children to pay off?

Were it not for the debt ceiling, Republicans would have had little or no leverage to even slow spending under Obama and the Democrats. And why would Democrats want to give up that leverage which they might find handy should we have a new Republican president at some point?

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Thresherman

    Congress? Barak don’t need no steeking Congress.

  • Thresherman

    Democrats want to eliminate the Debt Cap, because spending your grandchildren’s money is no longer enough, they now need your great and great, great grandchildrens money. Yet, they call anyone making over $250,000 greedy.

  • two_amber_lamps

    TREASON. Usurpers of the Constitution.

  • two_amber_lamps
  • $8194357

    Fiat crack addicts with a ‘purpose’…

  • mickey_moussaoui

    I guess a balanced budget is only for those of us who pay the bills.
    It might be time to invest in tar&feather futures.

  • $8194357

    With that far away happy ‘choom choom’ look in their eyes, huh.

  • WOOF

    The O man is just making it clear that Republicans
    are holding the nation hostage with debt ceiling kabuki.
    Smacked’em silly last go round.

    It’s a fight he enjoys.

    Watch out for his left.

    • $8194357

      His international left

    • $16179444

      holding hostage how?

    • Rob

      Holding America hostage by insisting that Obama live up to his own standards and actually, you know, compromise?

  • $16179444

    fuck it, print more $$. Obama will save us! after all we’ve got gay marriage AND free contraception! whoo hoo!

    • awfulorv

      You know Mark they’ve got this all wrong. Women, and men, should be charging their partner $10.00 every time they insert their tool into them. These payments, to be put in a drop box, as dice tables use, would have to be on the honor system, and would be turned over to an honest Government agency, if one can be found, and used, specifically, to reduce our national debt. A debt which should be retired in about five years, if condom sales are any indication. Fourteen, considering the randiness of teenagers, would be the age of contribution. Gays would be expected to contribute on a much greater scale, unless they can produce a valid Iranian Marriage certificate, signed by what’s his name. Contributions will be sent to Fort Knox, Ky. which has plenty of room in it’s vaults. It’s, supposed, golden hoard having been appropriated years ago by Democratic holders of the keys, beginning with Landslide Lyndon, through the present gang of thieves. There you have it, a comprehensive plan for debt reduction. Go get em girls, and semi girls…

  • Harold

    Barry wants unlimited freedom to bring about the collapse of america, and with the weakness displayed by republicans in the last election, Barry should be able to get what he wants a blank check to charge whatever he wants to charge to the american taxpayers of which there are becoming fewer and fewer of them since income redistribution is in full swing.

    • Neiman

      That is the growing and I think very real concern of perhaps many millions of Americans – Obama wants America to fail, out of that chaos then to launch a true Marxist revolution, fundamentally changing America into, not a European style socialism, but one more in line with the former Soviet Union.

      Elections have consequences and America, not just Democrats, but America chose a godless socialist future, not ignorantly, they knew what they were voting for, a chance to destroy the nation our Founding Fathers gave us.

      • Harold

        I think its hard for americans to believe a man they have elected to highest office in the land could be a person who quite possibly is pure evil. I know I find that reality to be hard to believe, but he’s either very dumb in way of economies and how successful ones work or he’s the other option. Either way he and the democrats and their are few democrats like I voted for years ago, mostly marxists/socialists/and communists dominating that political party now days are very scary people. I know none of them that are implementing all this will take any responsibility if it all fails.

        • Neiman

          Either they knew and do not care because they embrace his beliefs or they are suffering from a delusion, one that is taking over America.

          Unfortunately, neither Obama or the Democrats (liberals) think they are evil or want anything that is evil, appealing to increase the social safety net for those in need “appears” compassionate to them, to some it even seems to embrace Christ’s teachings. Being thus deluded, how do you wake them up? Only a great catastrophe that is clearly at the hands of liberals will accomplish that feat, but even then they are spin masters and can point fingers at the GOP faster than an atomic blink, cry tears for grandma and the kids and still fool most of the people.

      • awfulorv

        And, I might add some, including my eldest brother died for. Which makes giving it away to some ignorant Marxists all the more unpalatable.

  • Lynn Bergman

    It is unconstitutional for the Executive to assume any role of the Legislative. But do not hold your breath for Republicrats to save us from Socialism (or the inevitably subsequent Communism)…they increasingly are buying in to it.

  • John Fritzel

    It’s pretty bad when Bushes lack of oversite and failed wars for Haliburton called for having to bail out Wallstreet or face total collapse …let’s forget about all that and blaim Obama !
    I mean … “deficits don’t matter ” and shooting your friend in the face with a shotgun while drunk is the mark of a good administration right?