White House: 14th Amendment 'Not Available' in Debt Default

Press secretary Jay Carney tells reporters Obama can't raise the debt ceiling alone

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According to Reuters, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his briefing Monday that the 14th amendment "is not available" to end the debt ceiling standoff. "There are no easy ways out here. There are no tricks, there is no citing of the Constitution that suddenly allow us to borrow," Carney told reporters, per Reuters. "It's not available."

This comes days after Bill Clinton told ABC News he would invoke a provision in Section 4 of the amendment that would seem to allow the president to act unilaterally to avert a default "without hesitation" if a deal wasn't in place.

It also seems to conflict with the Fox Business report from yesterday that White House officials had been calling banking leaders to assure them that default was "off the table" even if an extension on extending the debt ceiling wasn't reached by August 2.

The New York Times notes that Obama expressed doubt about the legality of using the 14th amendment to force an extension during remarks last week. "I have talked to my lawyers," said Obama. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

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