Why Obama won’t use the 14th Amendment “option”

posted at 9:25 am on July 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama won’t unilaterally raise the nation’s debt ceiling through an executive order.  Note, however, that I didn’t say “can’t.”  Can Obama, in perfectly practical rather than legal terms, issue an executive order that unilaterally raises the debt ceiling in order to avoid a default?  Of course.  But it won’t work, for two reasons, and it would be a political disaster even if Obama succeeded, for another two reasons.

First, the debt limit is a statutory law — 31 USCS §3101 (link is to 1/3/2007 version).  Executive orders do not override statutory law.  Presidents could just as well issue executive orders that allow members of his Cabinet to buy jet skis for their children out of the federal budget; it would still be an illegal conversion of public funds to private use, and it would be just as prosecutable with or without the EO.  The only way to amend or repeal statutory law is through an act of Congress.

Second, the only reason to issue such an EO would be to protect the “full faith and credit” of the United States, as the 14th Amendment specifies, which in this case means keeping the markets calm so that we don’t have to pay higher interest rates later on our bonds.  We can protect the full faith and credit by paying interest first before any other bills even when being unable to borrow to meet other budget obligations, as Eugene Volokh points out at The Corner; we would have a partial government shutdown, not a default.  Imagine what would happen to that “full faith and credit,” though, if the Treasury started selling bonds that were almost certainly statutorily invalid.  Not only would investors demand a much higher interest rate on new bonds due to the risk, the fact that an American administration took the step of ignoring the law to borrow money would make resales of existing bonds that much more risky, too.  The result would be an utter ruin of American credit, the very outcome that those demanding a 14th-Amendment solution purport to avoid.

The political fallout for Obama would be worse.  Republicans wouldn’t have the votes to impeach him, even though it would certainly be a provocation of Congress that might justify the attempt.  They would take him to to court, though, and courts would waste no time slapping down the White House.  That would cement Obama’s burgeoning reputation as the very kind of “imperial President” that his supporters kept accusing George W. Bush of becoming.  That conclusion became clear enough with Obama’s refusal to seek Congressional approval of his military adventure in Libya, but issuing an EO to override longstanding precedent and statutory law would finish Obama.

And if that didn’t do the trick, then taking complete ownership of deficit spending certainly would.  Obama needs Republicans to take some ownership for a raise in the debt ceiling; it’s why Democrats didn’t do it in December, when the vote would have been almost unremarkable.  Otherwise, he knows that the GOP would paint him as a profligate spender in 2012, which they will try anyway; his only defense will be that Republicans hiked the debt ceiling as well.  Democratic Congresses added more than 50% to the debt ceiling in three years, after all.  In that link above to the January 3, 2007 version of the statute, the debt ceiling from the last Republican Congress was $8,965,000,000,000, more than $5 trillion below what it is today. A unilateral boost of the ceiling would place ownership of the debt, spending, and all of the negative consequences from them onto the shoulders of Barack Obama, and Barack Obama alone.

Would a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to publish his own written plan of a debt-ceiling compromise take those risks? Not a chance.

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But you’re assuming the goal is to raise the debt ceiling. The goal of Barack Hussein Obama is to destroy the country every way he can, and causing chaos is a great step to do it

SouthernGent on July 29, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Would a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to publish his own written plan of a debt-ceiling compromise take those risks? Not a chance.

Now, that depends. How certain is he that he’ll get away with it? The media so far has absolved both him and the Senate for failure to produce a plan. The only one who’s been asking any real questions about this has been Ed Henry.

KingGold on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

So Steny Hoyer is willing to break the law just to be able to solve the impasse and spend more money..?

d1carter on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Stock up on ammo, gold/silver and food…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Hey Ed, could we get a side-by-side of this picture and one of Il Duce. They’ve got to be almost identical.

dirtseller on July 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM

d1carter on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Good Question..:)

Dire Straits on July 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Stock up on ammo, gold/silver and food…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Hard to do with no money.

Del Dolemonte on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Basically he would not do it because it is not an option at all. There is no twisted level of English that transforms the meaning of the 14th amendment into what they are trying to claim it means. It means the exact opposite of what they claim. It means that debt payments come before other spending. That the government is not allowed to default. So long as the government is taking in revenue, it cannot default.

astonerii on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

So Steny Hoyer is willing to break the law just to be able to solve the impasse and spend more money..?

d1carter on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Steny Hoyer would sell his children to spend more money on government.

RBMN on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

It’s not like his polticial allies would not support him if he did:

[James]Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”

“If that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term lifting of the ceiling, the debt ceiling, he should put it on his desk next to an executive order,” Clyburn said at a press conference. “He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue.” The Associated Press reported that he was applauded when he suggested the idea at a caucus meeting earlier in the day.

kingsjester on July 29, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Here we go….

Obama to make a statement at 10:20 ET

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Markets are tanking…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM

He can raise it to the moon, congress doesn’t have to borrow the money.

Akzed on July 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Now, that depends. How certain is he that he’ll get away with it? The media so far has absolved both him and the Senate for failure to produce a plan. The only one who’s been asking any real questions about this has been Ed Henry.

KingGold on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

The media would try to give him a pass on it. It would be incumbent upon the House GOP as well as the public to hold him accountable. The Republicans in the House can threaten him with impeachment. It’ll go nowhere in the Senate, but if he’s allowed to get away with this, why even have a Congress?

Doughboy on July 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

hmmmm. Daley says Obama has a super secret double probation plan but he only showed it to Boehner and Cantor. yuh, uh huh.

BLITZER: You say the president has put forward a plan.

DALEY: Um-hmm.

BLITZER: But the Congressional Budget Office says there is no plan that they can score because it’s just a framework, it’s just a speech. They haven’t seen a document…

DALEY: Well, Speaker knows – and Congressman Cantor knows the plan that they both worked on try to bring the debt down and get past this debt ceiling. He does not have a legislative fix right now to this, because there’s a bill in the House and there’s a bill in the Senate and they will deal with those two bills. He’s endorsed Senator Reid’s bill. He feels very strongly that the bill that the House may pass tonight does not help the economy.

And what all of this should be about is trying to not only lower the debt, but at the same, get this cloud of uncertainty off our economy.

And the thought we’d be right back in the – this same thing in four-and-a-half months, with an economy that’s in a difficult shape with or without Washington’s craziness that goes on, is just unfathomable.

BLITZER: So what you’re saying is the president did present a plan to the speaker, John Boehner.

DALEY: Yes.

BLITZER: But – but he didn’t…

DALEY: Right.

BLITZER: – make it public.

DALEY: No, because there’s… both the speaker and – and the president had agreed and – that these sort of negotiations do not happen in public. There’s not a plan out there in the public realm, whether it’s the fiscal commission, whether it’s the Gang of Six, whether it’s Congressman Ryan’s plan – Congressman Ryan’s plan lost in the Senate overwhelmingly.

So there’s no plan that’s out there, by any of these people who are saying this, that has any sort of chance of passing both houses and getting signed by the president.

Alden Pyle on July 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

A good argument, but I actually think Obama would do this, and he’d come out and say he’s “saving America from the Tea Party extremists.” And it would probably be well received by a majority of the public. Now, to be sure, today’s GDP numbers change a few things. The Obama economy is crashing and burning big time. So in that light, you’re right, he’ll be looking for “partners” to take the blame.

Rational Thought on July 29, 2011 at 9:37 AM

KingGold on July 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM

The last paragraph is one that telle the tale for the Dems.

They wanted to pass the buck as much as possible.

Why they are still using Bush as a human shield!

Aside from the hate I mentioned yesterday, the feature today is pressure!

The weak links are : POTUS, Cong Repubs, Sen. Dems. Cong. Dems, and this will be settled by Monday.

The Potus is hiding under a bed. Cong Repubs are convinced it is either the Alamo or Waco. And they are worried about being wrong!

IlikedAUH2O on July 29, 2011 at 9:37 AM

OT:..Interesting food fight picking up steam in the Headlines..:)

Dire Straits on July 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM

The U.S. is “not a triple-A credit” and is running a “fiscal doomsday machine,” David Stockman, former federal budget director under President Reagan, told CNBC Thursday.

artist on July 29, 2011 at 9:40 AM

OT:..Interesting food fight picking up steam in the Headlines..:)

Dire Straits on July 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM

yeah. It’s a Trollapalooza.

kingsjester on July 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Ed, you’re predictions are based on the assumption that we’re dealing with a “normal” president who actually cares about, and has respect for the rule of law. He has demonstrated time and again that he does not. He will do it.

labrat on July 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

I don’t know. Since when does he care about the Constitution? He’s got too much experience in ignoring court orders, about the only kind he has. The press would cover for him–those wingnuts left him no other option, blah blah blah. Then he can put those big feet on the desk of the oval office and listen to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55waovXRDwo on repeat on his ipod.

13thdistrictvoter on July 29, 2011 at 9:43 AM

And why would our two-bit tin-pot care about our country?

tarpon on July 29, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Why Obama won’t use the 14th Amendment “option”

Wrong Ed…the King can do whatever he wants…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Since when has the “Constitution Scholar” ever let a little thing like the Constitution stop him?

I agree he won’t raise it by himself because he never does anything on his own. But it’s not because of the Constitution, it’s because he is NOT a leader, doesn’t possess the cajoes to do it, and LOVES any looming crisis.

katablog.com on July 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM

However strong his tyrannical instincts, I don’t think he has the cojones to try it.

After his Government Motors, union and Obamacare thuggery, though, exercising the so-called 14th Amendment option would be the icing on the cake. A really tiny and sick part of me wishes that he’d do it, because I think all h3ll would rain down on him, but it would be disastrous for the country.

obladioblada on July 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Dow is down 131 points at the open.

rockmom on July 29, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Ed: You don’t think that the Republican House has the votes to impeach Obama if he does this? I can almost guarantee they do.

Now, the Senate won’t convict him if he is impeached, but those are two separate issues.

Scott H on July 29, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Obama to make a statement at 10:20 ET

Oh goodie. I missed him yesterday when he failed his daily address to the nation again /s

katablog.com on July 29, 2011 at 9:50 AM

I think an even bigger fear is not that Obama would do something unconstitutional, but that he will use the occasion to further demagogue and rouse the rabble against the Constitution as being a “roadblock to progress.”

I can certainly see him giving a speech that says, in more sorrow than anger,”I did not want to be the President who tells a million college students that their loans cannot go through and they cannot enroll in college this fall. I did not want to be the President that tells the struggling single mother that her rent subsidy is cut off and she will have to go to the shelter. But this is what the Constitution requires.”

rockmom on July 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM

As Obama himself said…during his Friday night nationally Televised Hissy Fit:

If you want to be a leader, you got to lead.

Let’s watch the great leader in action this monring.

kingsjester on July 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

kingsjester on July 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

..:)

Dire Straits on July 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

The House should take Reid’s “compromise” bill and rubber-stamp it with a signing statement/or one amendment: “You own this debt, along with your President—we will deal with the realities of this legislation in 2013 when Democrats are completely out of power. Only then, can the sanity of real fiscal restraint come to fruition.”

“We reject this legislation on its face, but will vote for it in total for the sake of this nation’s credibility, against the will of every Republican in this House.”

And sign it!

Rovin on July 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Would a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to publish his own written plan of a debt-ceiling compromise take those risks? Not a chance.

You nailed it. Our lead from behind present voting president can’t handle the risk of taking a controversial position.

GrayDog on July 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Can’t wait for Dear Leaders speech…I’ll be waiting for that little part at the end where he declares Marshall Law…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

All the logical answers in the article present a good analysis, but this President is so ideological, I wonder if he wouldn’t let our credit rating fall to help destroy our economy so he can offer a “new and improved version” – socialism

amr on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I hope the Progs keep slimy Chuck Schumer on TV as much as they can (speaking from the floor of the Senate)…

d1carter on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

We’re about to see the worst possible scenario surface. The Tea Partiers have effectively killed their own leaders bill and have left an opening for Reid to submit his bill, which he just indicated he will do. With the support of house Democrats Reid’s bill will pass the house and Obama will sign it into law. I hope everybody is really pleased with their defense of their principles because that’s all their getting out of this deal.

rplat on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

“We reject this legislation on its face, but will vote for it in total for the sake of this nation’s credibility, against the will of every Republican in this House.”

Sorry, but I’m one that believes that if we reject it, we sure as H*ll should stand up and NOT vote for it.

Boehner should just keep throwing CCB at the Senate over and over and over again. Instead, the GOP has weakened their position by trying to “compromise” with idiots that have decided it’s their way or the highway.

We KNOW that cuts over 10 years mean nothing! We could say were were going to cut $14 trillion over 10 years, leaving all $14 trillion for the last 5 years, meaning some new president can deal with the impossible and it won’t happen.

katablog.com on July 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

But you’re assuming the goal is to raise the debt ceiling. The goal of Barack Hussein Obama is to destroy the country every way he can, and causing chaos is a great step to do it

SouthernGent on July 29, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Correct! Obama and his admin have created new rules in governing. They have out maneuvered the country on every issue.
The goal will be reached. The methodology will surprise.. and the result will be achieved.

Ed…you really need to read Rules for Radicals. Then you’ll have a more balanced read on Obama. For 2 1/2 years you have underestimated him and have been wrong in doing so every time.

katy on July 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

rplat: I’m certainly pleased with the defense of principle. After all, if you don’t have principle, you cannot be relied upon.

And I have yet to see anything that says Boehner’s new bill has been defeated.

Finally, do you think that Reid’s bill would ever not be submitted? Reid already said that Boehner’s bill was DOA. Therefore, how does the fact that Boehner’s bill hasn’t passed the House change the situation?

Scott H on July 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

…I’ll be waiting for that little part at the end where he declares Marshall martial Law…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

darwin-t on July 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Stock up on ammo, gold/silver and food…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Hard to do with no money.

Del Dolemonte on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Just use the credit card. Or write a check. As long as you’ve got checks, you’ve got money, right? :)

catmman on July 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM

One DEBT to Rule Them All!!!

Mutnodjmet on July 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Thank you for highlighting a serious flaw in President Obama’s, and liberal hacks that want U.S. to think they know the Constitution (every way but the right way). I seriously think the left could not could not find a way to manipulate Article 1, section 8, the Commerce Clause (their favorite dodge) to their favor. So they decided to mislead U.S. with the 14th Amendment, which I read in my pocket version of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Yes, our founders say it all without useless words. Useless words that can form loopholes, or allow them to be taken out of context to make U.S. think their ideas are fit and proper. Oh,also by taking out useless words these documents can be reduced in size, but not impact, to fit into a small pocket version.

As I read the 14th Amendment, Democrats stop short of the next sentence that begins with the greatest declarative in our language “But”.

the exact words in the 14th Amendment following the declarative “But”, so let’s read the context of the 14th Amendment. “But neither the United State nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for loss or emancipation of any slave: but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

MSGTAS on July 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Eugene Volokh points out at The Corner; we would have a partial government shutdown…

Am I correct in recalling a few past occurrences of this? I just can’t remember when it was…

JetBoy on July 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

That would cement Obama’s burgeoning reputation as the very kind of “imperial President” that his supporters kept accusing George W. Bush of becoming.

Maybe on FOX news. ‘Imperial’ is for old white guys. Obama will be hailed a hero who took it to the ‘obstructionist GOP’. Count it.

RepubChica on July 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

The result would be an utter ruin of American credit

George Soros – 1
America – 0

Wine_N_Dine on July 29, 2011 at 10:11 AM

RepubChica on July 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Exactly

katy on July 29, 2011 at 10:11 AM

rplat on July 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

While I whole-heartily agree with your assessment, the reality is that “principles” only go so far when the Republican party controls just one branch of the legislature. The narrative should and must be that Harry Reid and Barack Obama owns this “deferment of their responsibilities” to put this nation only on a temporary fiscal path to solvency. As I said in my post above, if the House passes Reid’s “plan” with a signing statement that rejects every aspect of the bill, ie under duress, this will put the onus on Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Yes, principles are sacrificed for the good of the nation, yet the day will belong to Republicans and the fight will come next November, when the real battle is won.

Rovin on July 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM

An executive order can not supersede an act of congress. The act in question the last debt limit legislation.

Dasher on July 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Why is it that an alleged Constitutional Scholar seems incapable of actually reading said document. The actual language is: “The validity of the public debt of the United States authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned.” This does not authorize incurring more debt; nor does it require any debt to be paid.

The most which this provision could be interpreted to mean is that the public debt must be paid prior to any current expense. Default is not authorized. Social Security payments, welfare payments, employee salaries, congressional salaries, et cetera, are not not debts, they are expenses. Bond holders and creditors must be paid before everyone else.

If we are a moral nation, they should be paid in a timely fashion. The 14th amendment does not say what they are pretending that it says.

Stephen L. Hall, Esq.

Stephen L. Hall on July 29, 2011 at 10:26 AM

This is a good analysis of what a sane person would ( or wouldn’t) do, but we are talking about a raging narcisisst here. He doesn’t have the guts to present his own budget plan to Congress because that would open him up to criticism. It doesn’t take guts for a narcissist like Obama to seize more personal power and elevate himself above Congress and the Constitution. He will deflect any criticism by saying ‘the Republicans made me do it’ and ‘I am doing this for your own good.’ The totalitarian option is unthinkable to us non- narcissuses, but to the Narcissist in chief, it is all to likely the only solution.

bitsy on July 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Why Obama won’t use the 14th Amendment “option”

Because it’s not an option.

mizflame98 on July 29, 2011 at 10:29 AM

GOOD ARTICLE ED!

I don’t think he’ll act unilaterally either.

HondaV65 on July 29, 2011 at 10:32 AM

It seems that I read on one of the HA threads that the Social Security trust fund has zillions of dollars in T-notes or bills. If there is any trouble in funding the SS checks, all the SS has to do is cash in these bills/notes to put cash into the trust fund. Since these are part of our national debt, the “cashing In” frees up more debt ceiling. Sort of a sneaky way of printing more money.

I’m an engineer, not an accountant (or else I would have more money by now than I do), But why couldn’t this be reduced to an absurdity at will, by just filling up the SS trust fund with real (but eventually debased) cash, and reduce the national debt, freeing up some room under the ceiling.

I would like this explained to me by some cogent financial guy/gal, not some political opinionated idiot which we have a lot of on HA – including me. Somebody with knowledge, not political opinion, of the subject please explain. Note, I am not advocating, just curious.

Old Country Boy on July 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

astonerii on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

I’m not sure I agree. They have done a pretty good job of perverting the commerce clause.

chemman on July 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

(Sophia in 2031): Picture it. Monday, August 1, 2011. Washington D.C. With both houses of congress failing to save the planet with an increase in “revenue,” our great leader, Chairman Obama showed great leadership and bypassed the obsolete congress and took it upon himself to save the country and the planet. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of that special day, which ushered in our great People’s Democratic Republic of America, we celebrate our dear leader, Chairman Obama. Chairman O, 10,000 Years!!

p40tiger on July 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Old Country Boy, Mark Levin had a professor on his show this week that explained what you are talking about. Maybe in Mark’s archives you could find something?

Wine_N_Dine on July 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

She’s lost that loving feeling…

d1carter on July 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

As Stephen Hall (another attorney) sort-of notes, Clyburn and the other idiots ignore the phrase “authorized by law.” The debt ceiling exists by virtue of the statute Ed cited. If the Liar-in-Chief tried circumventing the debt ceiling, the markets would likely plunge.

Too bad arrogance is not a basis for impeachment.

Dan Tanna on July 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM

The result would be an utter ruin of American credit, the very outcome that those demanding a 14th-Amendment solution purport to avoid.

When was the last time that a proposed government action producing consequences in opposition to its stated justification prevented it from happening?

The Monster on July 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Obama always takes that option that requires the least amount of immediate risk for himself. And doing nothing is usually the option that appears to meet this requirement. Using the 14th Amendment means he’s center stage and he won’t want that. Doing nothing until the people on the sidelines jump in because they can’t stand it any long is the way he will go.

Fred 2 on July 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Stock up on ammo, gold/silver and food…

PatriotRider on July 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Hard to do with no money.

Del Dolemonte on July 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Prioritize. Ammo first. Then you can use it to take the other two. ;-)

Yoop on July 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Wine_N_Dine on July 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Thanks. (or as we are learning to say in Oklahoma “muchos gracias”).

Old Country Boy on July 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

…That would cement Obama’s burgeoning reputation as the very kind of “imperial President” that his supporters kept accusing George W. Bush of becoming.

Most of little Bammie’s base want him to be an imperial president, they would stand up and cheer him if he did. His only problem would be losing some of the middle if they are not already gone.

We’re not on a level playing field in this respect, because the Constitution and the rule of law are basic Conservative/Republican platforms.

Not so for the prog/democratics. They loathe the Constitution, and see the rule of law as an obstacle to their grand vision.

slickwillie2001 on July 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Would a man who lacks the intestinal fortitude to publish his own written plan of a debt-ceiling compromise take those risks? Not a chance.

Agreed.

His “loyal base” is no longer big enough to ensure a win. He badly needs indies, centrists and right-leaners to et elected again.

It would be suicide to pull the 14th ammendment pin.

Tim_CA on July 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Not only would investors demand a much higher interest rate on new bonds due to the risk, the fact that an American administration took the step of ignoring the law to borrow money would make resales of existing bonds that much more risky, too.

That is where QE3 comes in. The Federal Reserve simply prints the money to buy the bonds at an interest rate favorable to the govt.

crosspatch on July 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Why Obama won’t use the 14th Amendment “option”

One word: IMPEACHMENT!!!

landlines on July 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Why Obama won’t use the 14th Amendment “option”

One word: IMPEACHMENT!!!

landlines on July 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Nope. The color of his skin makes him immune to impeachment.

slickwillie2001 on July 29, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Wait, isn’t it up to congress to uphold the 14th ammendment?

“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”

In which case, does Obama even have the authority?

walnut on July 29, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Ask yourself what is the most important thing to B.O.?
Self preservation. If he did this, he would own it ALL. Every consequence of doing that.

All of this month long talk trying to hang it on the Republicans in the House would have been for naught. And now, you think he would step up and commit suicide?

The last person he would throw under the bus would be himself.

bluefox on July 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Republicans wouldn’t have the votes to impeach him

You never know. :-)

JeffinSac on July 29, 2011 at 1:58 PM

There is not point to “getting past this debt ceiling”. The House submits a budget. Plan or no plan, if the President were to be stupid enough to invoke a twisted, illegal version of the language in the 14th Amendment via EO, the House simply doesn’t provide for the allocation of funds.

They get to decide what is and isn’t spent!

They get to set the budget!

They can run the system with no defecit all on their own! They appropriate the essentials, and give everything else 80% of what was allocated in the last budget. Period.

There is nothing the President can do about it if they stand fast. Of course, they have no intention of doing that, which is why this whole mess is no more than a navy-suited, red-tied kabuki.

Freelancer on July 29, 2011 at 11:03 PM

As I said on your show, Ed, who’d buy bonds that broke the debt ceiling? The 14th Amendment talks about debts “authorized by law,” and the President’s EOs don’t quit rise to that level. They’d be worthless, and if they could be sold, the interest would be so high as to consume the increase in the ceiling.

People are saying that the SCOTUS wouldn’t touch this, but it’s not really a political issue. It’s clearly a question of Constitutional interpretation.

Impeachment would be well deserved, but highly unlikely.

I’ve been wondering if a debt ceiling could be crafted that allowed only debts incurred at higher interest to replace retired debts.

flataffect on July 30, 2011 at 10:35 PM