Senate Democrats want President Joe Biden to use the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the country’s borrowing ceiling without negotiating in good faith. This would almost certainly lead to a Constitutional crisis.
With the clock ticking toward a possible default and the far-left party and its leader refusing to consider sensible spending cuts, senators are asking Biden to pull the pin on a grenade that will be thrown into the Supreme Court, where a 6-3 conservative majority would decide whether such a dramatic move would be legal.
Biden has been reluctant to use this option but didn’t rule it out when Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC asked him if he was “prepared to invoke the 14th Amendment and blow through the debt ceiling?”
Biden said, “I haven’t gotten there yet.” Still, pressure from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other high-profile Senate Dems could give cover to a president who has repeatedly shown he is willing to run roughshod over the Constitution.
Warren told the Hill that no one’s first choice would be the 14th Amendment. The first decision is that the Republicans raise the debt ceiling because the United States government never, ever, ever, ever defaults on its legal obligations. But if Kevin McCarthy is going to drive the United States off a cliff, it’s up to the president to find a different way.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) believes they should test that theory. He said the language in that Amendment is very clear, and Biden has the power to take action like no other president before. He also said that if Biden did this, there would be a court challenge.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who just threatened to impeach former President Donald J. Trump for the third time, said “there’s a strong argument” that President Biden “has authority” to use the 14th Amendment if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) insists on spending cuts. He also said they should agree so that the issue of using the 14th Amendment is not raised.
According to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), “MAGA wants a default.” Schtz said it’s everyone else’s job to stop a default. He was slamming GOP deficit hawks by saying that McCarthy would run the country into the rocks “unless we repeal all the things that we enacted last Congress,” which is the same as asking for a default. Schatz is standing firm to protect the obscene amounts of money for climate change programs and funding the IRS with 87,000 new agents.
One legal authority which is being cited is Harvard University professor emeritus Laurence Tribe, a left-wing zealot who, in a New York Times op-ed last week, argued that Biden not only had the authority, but it was his duty to invoke the 14th Amendment, which Among other provisions, it guarantees that the validity of the public debt of the U.S, authorized by law, including pension debts and bounty debts relating to suppressing rebellions and insurrections, shall not be challenged.
It’s the same Amendment Democrats, among others, have used to claim Trump should never run for office again and that conservative lawmakers should be kicked out of office. It’s a clause that was put in place after the Civil War, but Democrats and their allies have brought it back to life to strengthen their party’s grip on power by going against what the voters want.
Warren stated that Professor Tribe is right that the 14th Amendment gives us a plausible way to deal with the debt ceiling, even though the Republicans are holding it, hostage. When asked if she was asking Biden to go for it as soon as next month, she said it depends on the alternative.
Warren added if the alternative is that the Republicans are going to push the U.S. off a cliff in which the American economy crashes, it would be better to go into recession; if this happens, millions of people could potentially lose their jobs, and good name of the U.S. around the world be destroyed, then not-great alternatives look like a better choice than chaos, said Warren. The language seems pretty clear, and it’s hard to square the language in the 14th Amendment with a law passed by Congress that sets a debt ceiling.
Senate Republicans didn’t like the idea that Democrats and Biden would do something so risky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently stated that Biden’s acting unconstitutionally without Congress is “not an option.”
Trump added fuel to the fire when, during a CNN town hall last Wednesday, he told Republicans not to give up on spending cuts that he said should have never been allowed in the first place.
John Thune, the Republican Senate Whip from South Dakota, said that if Biden went with the 14th Amendment, the case would probably end up in the Supreme Court. Thune said it’s not a realistic way out of the current crisis, but he seems to be discussing the issue and finding out what the law says about it for the next time.