Far-Left Democrats Hate Fiscal Responsibility So Much They’re Demanding The President Violate The Constitution

Some Far-Left Democratic Senators Care So Little About The Constitution And Are So Wedded To Federal Largesse That They Are Calling On President Biden To Illegally Seize Power And ‘Unconstitutionally [Act] Without Congress’ In An Attempt To Ignore The Debt Limit


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Everybody knows there is only one way to defuse the looming crisis. The normal and routine thing. Spending negotiations between the President and the Speaker. The American people voted for divided government. President Biden refusing to compromise is not an option. Unconstitutionally acting without Congress is not an option. There is exactly one way to prevent a pointless, avoidable crisis: The bipartisan negotiation that Speaker McCarthy has been calling for since February.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/10/2023)

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “I’m pleased that the president seems to be taking negotiations a little more seriously. I hope he will not allow himself to be distracted by extreme members of his own party, like the individuals who are suggesting that the president attempt to raise the debt ceiling on his own using a dubious interpretation of the 14th Amendment if Democrats don’t like the debt ceiling agreement.” (Sen. Thune, Floor Remarks, 5/18/2023)


After 3 Months Of Stalling And Bluster That Republicans Needed To Simply Acquiesce To Democrats’ Preferences, President Biden Finally Listened To Republican Leaders And Agreed To Negotiate A Deal That Would Raise The Debt Limit

LEADER McCONNELL: “[Earlier this week], President Biden took one step toward the debt limit solution we’ve been laying out for him for months. After meeting with Speaker McCarthy, the President finally designated specific members of his staff to negotiate with the Speaker’s Office directly. I’m glad the President has taken my advice. It’s encouraging that the White House is now engaging seriously with the only counterpart that can help deliver an actual solution. But because it took the President three months to start dealing in reality, time is now running out. So I’m hopeful the President’s team will join House Republicans to produce a responsible spending agreement to raise the debt ceiling. And I will continue to support Speaker McCarthy one hundred percent.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/17/2023)

HOUSE SPEAKER KEVIN McCARTHY (R-CA): “One-hundred-four days ago, I sat with the president and said, let’s sit down and let’s negotiate. Let’s be reasonable, let’s be sensible and let’s be responsible about the future, because if our debt gets too large, which it is today, it’s 120 percent of our GDP, it is larger than our economy. In the next 10 years, we’ll pay more in interest than we paid in the last 83 years. So, this is a serious time, and I want to negotiate. But for 104 days he would not negotiate, said you just have to raise the debt ceiling, and he was going to put our economy in jeopardy by doing that. Then Republicans passed a bill, a limit, save, grow. Unfortunately, the Senate has taken no action, so we couldn’t go to conference. But finally, yesterday the president finally admitted he would negotiate. He would assign two people from his administration to negotiate with us. We started last night. So we finally have a process, a structure, that has worked every time in the past. But now we have a short timeframe to get the job done in. So, I’m optimistic that now we have a structure that can work. The timeframe is what’s difficult.” (Fox Business Network, 5/17/2023)

  • SPEAKER McCARTHY:Unfortunately, the Democrats wasted four months saying it had to be a clean debt, saying, say you wouldn’t negotiate. Well, do you know what? All that has changed now. And now we’re at a place we should have been back in February. … The only thing that I think is better is now we have a format, a structure. It’s something that I requested back in February, at the very 1st of February. The president for all that time said never negotiate. … It took the president a long time to finally admit that he needed to do exactly what we’re doing today.” (Rep. McCarthy, Press Conference, 5/16/2023)

‘The Speaker… Won An Agreement That His Representatives Would Now Negotiate Directly With Mr. Biden’s Top Lieutenants’ Following ‘Months In Which Biden And His Top Aides Insisted That The White House Would Not Entertain Making Any Trade-Offs To Raise The Debt Limit’

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy got what he wanted out of Tuesday’s debt limit talks at the White House — the chance to go one-on-one against President Biden. The speaker… won an agreement that his representatives would now negotiate directly with Mr. Biden’s top lieutenants. … After insisting for months that he would never do so, the president appears ready to discuss a potential [agreement] … The change in negotiating parameters now puts Mr. McCarthy on a more equal footing with the White House, one that Republicans think befits his stature.” (“The Speaker Gets His Chance to Go Toe-to-Toe With the President,” The New York Times, 5/17/2023)

  • “The fresh talks follow months in which Biden and his top aides insisted that the White House would not entertain making any trade-offs to raise the debt limit, saying that would set a dangerous precedent that encourages GOP brinkmanship. And yet, to some critics, the administration appears to be doing exactly that — following unrelenting pressure from the business community and even some moderate Democratic voices to enter bipartisan talks after the House passed a spending and debt limit bill last month.” (The Washington Post, 5/16/2023)


Yet Now Some Far-Left Democrat Senators Are Calling For President Biden To Violate The Law And The Constitution To Execute A Unilateral Power Grab And Trigger A Fiscal And Constitutional Crisis Just To Avoid Having To Compromise With Republicans On Federal Spending

“There’s a growing sense within the Senate Democratic Caucus that Biden may have made a serious mistake by entering into direct negotiations with McCarthy. And … many Senate Democrats seem in denial that they would, in this scenario, have to swallow a deal … In many ways, Democrats haven’t yet come to grips with the fact that they may be forced to accept a Biden-McCarthy proposal that limits or reduces spending while imposing some new work requirements for safety-net programs.” (Punchbowl News AM, 5/18/2023)

‘Some Senate Democrats Were Circulating A Letter Urging Biden To Prepare To Invoke The 14th Amendment To Resolve The Debt Ceiling Standoff Without Involving Congress’

“Some Senate Democrats were circulating a letter urging Biden to prepare to invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt ceiling standoff without involving Congress, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post ahead of its release.” (Senate Democrats Ask Biden To Ready 14th Amendment, Bypass GOP On Debt Limit, The Washington Post, 5/17/2023)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): “Use the 14th Amendment. That’s the solution to this crisis… You do not, at this moment in history, balance the budget, if you like, on the backs of the most vulnerable people, and leave billionaires untouched. That’s wrong.” (Punchbowl News AM, 5/18/2023)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “We have to find a way to save our economy and our good name around the world. Plan A is for the Republicans to raise the debt limit in a clean bill. Plan B is, move to the 14th Amendment.” (Punchbowl News AM, 5/18/2023)

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): “The President should be prepared to invoke the 14th Amendment to prevent default.” (Sen. Tina Smith, @SenTinaSmith, Twitter, 5/17/2023)

  • SMITH: “Speaker McCarthy is holding the economy hostage because he wants to kick moms and kids off health insurance and food assistance. That cannot be tolerated. President Biden should be ready to ‘break glass in case of emergency’ and invoke the 14th Amendment to prevent default.” (Sen. Tina Smith, @SenTinaSmith, Twitter, 5/17/2023)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): “1. The 14th Amendment says the debt of the United States shall not be questioned; a default questions the debt big time, and so is unconstitutional…” (Sen. Whitehouse, @SenWhitehouse, Twitter, 5/17/2023)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “I want the president to see that he has the support in the Senate to use the 14th Amendment or other executive powers, including the platinum coin — that he has support to say no to outrageous demands from the radical right that’s trying to terrorize American families.” (“Some Senate Democrats Urge Biden To Prepare To Invoke The 14th Amendment To Tackle The Debt Limit,” NBC News, 5/17/2023)

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): “President Biden needs to consider using the 14th Amendment if necessary. The entire GOP debt ceiling negotiation is a sad charade, and it’s exactly what’s wrong with Washington.” (The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, @JStein_WaPo, Twitter, 5/18/2023)


Legal Scholars Have Repeatedly Explained That An Action By The President ‘To Invoke The 14th Amendment’ On The Debt Limit Is Facially Unconstitutional And Dangerous

FORMER JUDGE MICHAEL W. McCONNELL, Stanford Law School Professor: “Mr. Biden’s advisers reportedly are contemplating violating the congressional debt limit based on a far-fetched interpretation of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment propounded by some academics. Previous administrations have flirted with this idea, but all have rejected it. Mr. Biden should do the same. It would twist the words of the 14th Amendment, ignore its history and send the markets into turmoil.” (Michael W. McConnell, Op-Ed, “The Case for Violating the Debt Limit Is Dangerous Nonsense,” The New York Times, 5/14/2023)

SAIKRISHNA PRAKASH, University of Virginia Law Professor: “Section 4 doesn’t address default or other failures to honor terms of a debt contract. It bars repudiation…. Further, even if one assumes the 14th Amendment bars debt defaults, it nowhere authorizes the president to take whatever measures he deems necessary to prevent default. It no more empowers him to take such measures than it does you or me. As per the Constitution, Congress, not the president, has the power to ‘borrow money on the credit of the United States.’ If the Constitution bars default and more money is needed to prevent default, Congress must act. The president can’t issue debt on his own say-so.” (Saikrishna Prakash, Op-Ed, “The ‘14th Amendment Option’ Is a Trap for Biden,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/2023)

JONATHAN H. ADLER, Case Western Reserve University School of Law Professor: “Article I, Section 8 expressly grants Congress the power ‘to borrow money on the credit of the United States.’ Despite this provision, some believe that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment authorizes the President to assume for himself a power expressly enumerated to a coordinate branch before taking more modest steps, such as privileging debt payment over other spending…. Pause for a moment, then, and think about the implications for executive power of the Section 4 argument: That despite the legislature’s refusal (thus far) to authorize additional debt, the President can unilaterally issue additional debt himself before taking other, less extreme measures. Why, this argument is positively Trumanesque.” (Jonathan H. Adler, “In Defense of the Debt Limit’s Constitutionality,” The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, 7/05/2011)

ANITA S. KRISHNAKUMAR, Georgetown University Law Professor: “The federal Constitution unequivocally vests power over fiscal matters in the hands of Congress…. It is axiomatic that the founders intended for Congress to be directly accountable to the people concerning any tax burdens imposed upon the public-hence the explicit constitutional requirement that all legislation for raising taxes originate in the popularly elected House of Representatives. The side-by-side location of Congress’s constitutional powers to tax, pay debts, and borrow money at least implies that the public accountability required of Congress in the tax context also should apply to congressional decisions in the related fiscal contexts of national borrowing and debt repayment. Finally, the borrowing and debt payment clauses create a limitation on executive power. Congress’s power to borrow is a check and a balance against the executive branch and precludes the President from directing the Treasury to issue debt whenever he believes it appropriate. Indeed, Congress's ‘power to borrow Money’ would mean nothing if the President could instigate national borrowing without congressional consent …” (Anita S. Krishnakumar, “In Defense of the Debt Limit StatuteIn Defense of the Debt Limit Statute,” St. John’s Law Scholarship Repository, 2005)


Even The Obama Administration’s Treasury Department General Counsel Explicitly Wrote That The Debt Limit Is ‘A Binding Legal Constraint That Can Only Be Raised By Congress’

FORMER TREASURY DEPARTMENT GENERAL COUNSEL GEORGE W. MADISON: “[T]he Constitution explicitly places the borrowing authority with Congress, not the President. [Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner] has cited the 14th Amendment’s command that ‘[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States… shall not be questioned’ in support of his strong conviction that Congress has an obligation to ensure we are able to honor the obligations of the United States. Like every previous Secretary of the Treasury who has confronted the question, Secretary Geithner has always viewed the debt limit as a binding legal constraint that can only be raised by Congress.” (George W. Madison, Letter to the Editor, The New York Times, 7/08/2011)


‘Per The Plain Terms Of The U.S. Constitution, Congress Is In Charge Of Raising The Debt Ceiling And Passing The Federal Budget. It Cannot, Under Any Circumstances, Be Cut Out Of That Role By The President’

‘Nowhere [Within The 14th Amendment] Is There A Repeal, An Amendment, Or An Attenuation Of The Injunction That “All Legislative Powers Herein Granted Shall Be Vested In A Congress Of The United States.”’

“Per the plain terms of the U.S. Constitution, Congress is in charge of raising the debt ceiling and passing the federal budget. It cannot, under any circumstances, be cut out of that role by the president.” (Charles C.W. Cooke, “No, the President Cannot Unilaterally Raise the Debt Ceiling,” National Review, 5/10/2023)

  • “Nowhere within the [14th A]mendment is there any implication whatsoever that responsibility for the public debt of the United States will hitherto be acquired by the president. Nowhere is it even hinted that the term ‘authorized by law’ exists outside of the rules established in Article I. Nowhere is there a repeal, an amendment, or an attenuation of the injunction that ‘all legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.’” (Charles C.W. Cooke, “No, the President Cannot Unilaterally Raise the Debt Ceiling,” National Review, 5/10/2023)
  • “The power to legislate inevitably carries with it the power to say No. There is no ‘If Congress Won’t Act’ clause in the U.S. Constitution. There is no “Too Important” provision that can be invoked when the president and the media believe that the legislature is being unreasonable. The system is the system is the system, and its temporary custodians are required to stay within its bounds at all times. This means that, when Congress does not do something, that something does not happen…. The Constitution is not a suggestion; it is binding law.” (Charles C.W. Cooke, “No, the President Cannot Unilaterally Raise the Debt Ceiling,” National Review, 5/10/2023)

‘There Is Not The Slightest Evidence That Anyone In 1866 Would Have Thought They Were Amending Article I, Section 8 To Create In The President An Independent Power To Borrow Money On The Credit Of The United States’

“[W]hatever other powers might be granted to the executive branch or even the courts, Congress alone could authorize money to be taxed, spent, borrowed, or coined. The Constitution is not ambiguous on this point: The first two powers of Congress listed in Article I, Section 8 are ‘to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States’ and ‘to borrow Money on the credit of the United States.’ Moreover, ‘All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.’ Article II, governing the powers of the executive, contains no mention of the president having any power to raise revenue or borrow money on his own.” (Dan McLaughlin, “The 14th Amendment Doesn’t Empower Biden To Borrow Beyond The Debt Limit,” National Review, 5/10/2023)

  • “In short, the framers of the 14th Amendment would have anticipated that, if the country approached a default on its debt, it would be the responsibility of Congress, not the president, to address that — and they would also have anticipated that, if Congress failed to act, the federal government would stop spending money. Because presidents simply had no power to issue debt without Congress, the language at most imposed a duty on the executive to prioritize debt payments with the resources he had on hand. There is not the slightest evidence that anyone in 1866 would have thought they were amending Article I, Section 8 to create in the president an independent power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, any more than they were authorizing the president to levy taxes without Congress.” (Dan McLaughlin, “The 14th Amendment Doesn’t Empower Biden To Borrow Beyond The Debt Limit,” National Review, 5/10/2023)



Related Issues: Debt And Deficits, Senate Democrats