Pelosi: Obama should just use the 14th Amendment to set his own debt ceiling
posted at 8:01 am on January 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
It’s always good to see Congressional leaders defending the separation of powers, isn’t it? For someone who told reporters in November that she’s “always with the Constitution,” Nancy Pelosi seems eager to flush the legislative branch’s power of the purse down the drain when her political party controls the executive branch:
Pelosi’s solution to the impasse is for the president to — as some scholars have proposed — bypass Congres
s and invoke the 14th Amendment, which states that “[t]he validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”
“We always passed the debt ceiling [increases] when President Bush was president, as he was incurring these massive debts and the Republicans weren’t saying ‘boo’ at the time,” Pelosi said when asked why Congress can’t solve these problems before they become crises.
“There should be — this is a conversation where there should be no doubt. In fact, if I were president, I would use the 14th Amendment, which says that the United States will always be paying … I would just go do it, right. But the Congress has incurred much of this debt. So what are we saying? We incurred it, but we’re not going to pay it? If you want to say we’re not going to do it so much in the future, well, that’s another thing, but you can’t say I’m not paying my past debts.”
This is an improvement for Pelosi. A few weeks ago, she didn’t know enough about the Constitution to pick the right amendment:
One reason why those Congresses always approved the debt ceiling increases is because those Congresses always passed a budget through normal order. Pelosi’s Democrats have blocked that process since April 2009, and even in the final Bush term blocked the FY2009 budget in 2008 until Obama took office. It’s not the Republicans who have been obstructing normal order on budgets, which would produce a debt ceiling increase to match the spending necessary in a normal budget. The problem isn’t that Barack Obama needs dictatorial powers, it’s that Harry Reid has all but assumed them in breaking the law for the last three-plus years in refusing to produce budgets in the Senate.