The federal government is rapidly approaching a potential financial disaster. The federal debt ceiling must be raised by August 2 or the U.S. will start to default on some its loans. Some have suggested that any law that limits the level of government is itself unconstitutional and urge President Obama to simply ignore Congress and force the Treasury Department to continue to borrow money. (CBS News posted a video Monday arguing that the president could evoke Section IV of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads that, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, [...] shall not be questioned.")
But Andrew Grossman at Heritage Foundation's The Foundry disagrees. In a post Friday he outlined why the Fourteenth Amendment solution is not a viable solution to the debt ceiling problem. The Fourteenth Amendment does not imply that the debt ceiling in unconstitutional. Grossman argues that, following the logic that the president has the right to force the treasury to continue to borrow, why could he not force them to raise taxes? He also debunks the notion that the president even has the right to force a continuation:
Indeed, unilateral action by the President to borrow money would be an unconstitutional usurpation of the legislative power. The Constitution vests the power to “to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” and the power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States” in the Congress, not the President. The President lacks the authority to, on his own accord, make expenditures which have not been authorized by Congress (because Congress has imposed a debt ceiling that supersedes any such authorizations) or to undertake borrowing that has not been authorized by Congress.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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