We could be happy that the Democrats are at least noticing the Constitution now, except that they’re really not.
House Democrats want President Obama to take a new approach to Republican resistance over raising the debt ceiling — by simply ignoring it.
More than 20 Democratic members of Congress have signed onto a letter urging the president use an obscure constitutional provision to attempt to circumvent any resistance in Congress to raising the debt ceiling. They claim the 14th Amendment…
…that’s the “obscure constitutional provision” the story mentions…
…which contains a section stating that “the validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned,” would allow Obama to raise the debt limit by himself.
Note that ellipsis. It’s hiding something. Here’s the full sentence from Article IV of the 14th Amendment:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
Note those words “authorized by law.” Authorized by whom?
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
That’s Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution – apparently an even more “obscure constitutional provision” than the 14th Amendment.
Congress has the power to borrow money. Not the President. Congress. Sure, the President has to sign the budget bill for it to become law, but the President can’t borrow money unless it’s authorized first by Congress.
The 14th Amendment doesn’t confer the power to borrow money, no matter what congressional Democrats think or, more accurately, what they wish were true.
This is not, of course, what they’re getting at. They’re trying to say that, unless we raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. might default on its existing debts and therefore violate the 14th Amendment.
Their “solution” violates Article I, Section 8, but, feh. And, plus, their “solution” means that we’re so far in debt we can’t even pay our debts without taking on more debt.
But, again, feh. What, you hate children and old people or something?
All they really want is to avoid making any unpleasant, difficult decisions that might reduce the power of the federal government to spend more tax money and, thereby, reduce their own individual power to hand out presents.