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Obama Could Cite 14th Amendment Powers to Tackle Debt Limit

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Debt ceiling, budget talks, obama, republicans, economy, politics )

- 2424 days ago -
If Congress is unable to agree on a plan to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, Obama will have to decide which government bills to pay which not to pay or simply ignore Congress, pay all the bills and simply raise the debt ceiling

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Carrie B (306)
Saturday July 30, 2011, 9:34 pm
"President Obama may soon face a very tough executive decision.

If Congress is unable to agree on a plan to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, Obama will have to decide which government bills to pay and which not to pay or to simply ignore Congress, pay all the bills and simply raise the debt ceiling on his own.

"I would say it's legally treacherous no matter what he does," said Peter Shane, an Ohio State law professor.
Obama and his aides say he lacks the constitutional power to raise the debt limit, but that hasn't stopped a rising number of Democratic lawmakers and legal analysts from pushing him to change his mind.

Obama can cite the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which says "the validity of the public debt shall not be questioned," said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

The president may not even need to do that, some legal analysts say. The prospect of economy emergency, which administration officials say would ensue of there is a government default, gives Obama all the authority he needs to raise the debt ceiling on his own.

"The president has the power during crises to take actions that are necessary to protect the country," said Eric Posner, a law professor the University of Chicago.

Posner and Adrian Vermeule, a law professor at Harvard, co-authored a New York Times op-ed that reached back to another difficult economic moment, the Great Depression.

In his inaugural address of 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt said, "It may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure."
Posner and Vermeule wrote that, in the current case, "the president would derive authority from his paramount duty to ward off serious threats to the constitutional and economic system."

Other presidents have also decided to go it alone when faced with with a potential crisis.
Harry Truman, faced with a potential steel workers strike in 1952, ordered a government seizure of the steel mills, saying a strike created risks for U.S. troops then fighting in Korea.
Obama has questioned his ability to raise the debt ceiling on his own.
In response to a questioner at a town hall meeting, he said his lawyers "are not persuaded that that is a winning argument."

Ratified in 1868, shortly after the Civil War, part of the 14th Amendment states: "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."

Shane, who specializes in separation of powers at Ohio State, echoed other legal analysts in saying that clause only obligates Congress to fund the repayment of federal debts, a key issue after the Civil War.

While Clyburn and other Democrats are urging Obama to cite the 14th Amendment, some Republicans have objected.

If Obama raised the debt ceiling on his own, "he would effectively be a dictator," Rep. Michele Bachmann R-Minn., a presidential candidate, said on CNN.

Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said unilateral action could be grounds for impeachment."

Myron Scott (70)
Saturday July 30, 2011, 9:46 pm

Very nice summary of what we and so many others have been saying for so many days. The President has to hear us; he's just ignoring us. So, we just talk louder, I guess.

And ain't Batty Bachmann predictable?!

Carrie B (306)
Saturday July 30, 2011, 10:00 pm
Thanks Myron and Bachmann never fails to be a complete idiot. I've come to expect nothing less, or is it more?

Alexandra Rodda (180)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 12:28 am
Obama is a lawyer and graduated as Juris Doctor magna cum laude (that means "doctor of law with great praise".) He has also served as professor of law. He is no fool.
He has a staff of lawyers mulling over every avenue of action in this present crisis. He is also aware of the fact that congress at present could be compared to a pool heavily infested with piranhas. Any wrong move and they would attack and devour both him and all he cares about - that is the poor and middle class in America, the economy and the environment. Congress is full of "Christian" Right Wing Fascists who are not very bright and totally brainwashed and conditioned by Fox News and that lovely man, Rupert Murdoch.
The Teaparty crowd are more rabid than rabid dogs and twice as dangerous even though the neurones in their skulls are perishing of loneliness.
To see a rabid right winger with lonely neurones just go to: Scary! Unadulterated evil ready to attack.

Obama is not being a coward, though this situation for him is far more dangerous than it would be if he was blue eyed and blond. There are many "Christians" out there that would just love to "take him out".
He is aware of the legal conundrums as well as the extreme attacks personally and on the Democrats through the media etc that citing the 14th amendment would unleash.
That is why he needs us to ring, write, email, beat drums etc to offer support that would help carry such an action.
Obama's biggest risk right now is that the Republicans suddenly become intelligent, compassionate, responsible and vote for changes that both raise the debt ceiling, prevent megadeaths among the poor and middle class ( damage that will be felt for many generations) and stimulate the economy enough to get manufacturing and infrastructure refitting (green) happening.
But then, if because of the unexpected enlightenment of the GOP, Obama has no excuse left to act, it maybe just as well. The great harm will have been averted and after all, it is the common good and not one's party that matters.
In the meantime, please ring, bother the Republicans, goad them, make a smokescreen and a noise! Help all you can to make decisive action easier and maybe even possible.

Ellen m (215)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 1:29 am
Alexandra..thank you, beautifuly stated, and 100% correct!
People act like Obama's acting alone...this guys got more brainpower in his inner circle than every repuglican in the country combine, which I agree isn't giving him the credit he deserves, but you get the idea.
And I truly believe that while he wants to remain president, he would die for this country before a single repug would chance a paper cut!
So go ahead and dust off the 14th amendment and use it if necessary...the fallout won't be one iota as bad as the alternative!
Lord knows we have some nuclear dump somewhere to deposit whats left of the repugs.

Ellen m (215)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 2:56 am
If, if, if. If a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass on lillypads either...Why are we even still talking about this? We've agreed Obamas no fool. He already knows exactly what he's going to this point all the repugs can do is try to save face, and they had better hurry! Tick Tock

Rinie Cassteele (47)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 4:06 am
I just hope that Obama got some of those kevlar suits when he got the keys to the White House.
He wouldn't be the first President who got whacked .
Though sometimes i think the Republicans felt they went for a friendly game of chess to find out right before defeat they accidently picked Kasparov as an oponant.

Carrie B (306)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 4:27 am
I disagree. I don't think Obama knows what he will do. He's waiting to see what will happen and then he will decide. Oh I am sure he has various answers for various scenarios, but I don't feel confident that he feels confident. It has nothing to do with intelligence, but rather being in the ring with all those lions.

patricia lasek (317)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 5:47 am
I still keep holding on to the hope that there will be a one page bill introduced that simply states: " The debt ceiling will be raised."

Rinie Cassteele (47)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 6:05 am
I don't think he can do much.
Everyone is booing pinochio but Gepetto is the puppeteer.
I just don't know exactly who Gepetto is in this case.
Asfar as i can follow back the trail with my limited brains and resources this play has been set up somewhere before 1930.
As i'm not an American i traced it back to the paperclipfiles there, but than things get blurry.
This all may be very serious to us but remember we're just the pawns on the Stratego board and for the players it's only a game.

Carol H (229)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 6:19 am
thank you Carrie, noted with hope!!

Carrie B (306)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 9:18 am
Rinie, and what a dangerous game it is!

Carrie B (306)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 9:20 am
That one page bill to raise the debt ceiling is such an obvious solution, I'm sure it won't happen. Can't believe this is happening.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 10:21 am
Yes, this new breed voted into Congress recently is so ignorant that they are endangering all of us and the rest of the world. They must be expelled. The intelligent and educated members of Congress can do this. I have written to Boehner and my state Rep to suggest this action be taken. I also will write to my senators to propose that they get this idea out there. The world can not afford to have these games played. A tea bagger will make an ignorant statement in public, and it will then be bandied about on the am airwaves as thought it is a TRUTH so that the Republican audiences will perpetuate it. People lacking an education in political science/US Governmental law have no place in the US Congress. The world is watching these silly radicals and we are losing credibility fast.

DORIS L (61)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 10:28 am
Let's hope he won't have to.

Rinie Cassteele (47)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 11:16 am
So is Russian Roulette that knowledge hasn't stopped anyone playing sofar.

Carrie B (306)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 12:35 pm
Right you are Rinie.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 3:23 pm
Republican would already ave acted without any respect for the Deocrats.
Bush did, many times.

Carrie B (306)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 3:24 pm
You've got that right John.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 4:48 pm
It's beyond obvious the CONgre$$ is full of Terrorists who would rather play-act than WORK for solutions. Obama should NOT be baited into doing anything other than signing or vetoing what the CONgre$$ finally decides on. The Reich-wing heavy Supreme Court would toss out anything he did anyway, you know the TeaBaggers would Love that! But NOBODY loves this DeadBeat CONgre$$, full of Teabagger idiots & Terrorists bought by Koch brothers & other Lobbys.. Kucinich & Sanders must hate Trying to work with this bunch of "Trump Wizards" & rock star wannabes!:(

Barbara W (342)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 5:25 pm
And so he can! And so he should! It's time to act like a leader who dare takes the high road and does what's in the best interest of the nation and her future.

Barbara W (342)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 5:27 pm
Personally, I am sick of the good cop bad cop game both parties play with US in the lurch!

Rinie Cassteele (47)
Sunday July 31, 2011, 6:15 pm
Wow Barbara you nailed it right there.
It's a game of good cop bad cop but Rep and Dems follow the same Captain their both cops.
And Governments all over the world are playing this game.
A few years ago i allready heard whispers of a Eurodollar
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