Obama downplays possible constitutional move on debt ceiling
July 6th, 2011
02:41 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama downplays possible constitutional move on debt ceiling

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Wednesday he wants a deal with Congress in the next two weeks to tackle mounting deficits and allow an increase in the federal debt ceiling, but he didn't rule out using a constitutional argument to increase how much money the government can borrow.

"I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue," Obama said during a Twitter town hall at the White House in response to a tweeted question on whether he would rely on a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.

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Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. GOP = Greed Over People

    "I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue," Obama said during a Twitter town hall at the White House in response to a tweeted question on whether he would rely on a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling."

    If you give up a clearly state Constitutional option, then just ahead and cave now and give the GOP a blank check and save all the drama over the next 2 weeks.

    There is no way the GOP is going to give in on their mission to see "America fail".

    At some point, President Obama, you will come out with some flowery speech about how you want to prevent pain to the American citizenry and a global financial catastrophe, so blah, blah, blah.

    Bottom line just give in now, and then announce you will not run for re-election in 2012 and let another Dem take on the GOP.

    July 6, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Ya' know, this debt limit is a real Constitutinal mess.
    -14th amendment says US will honor debts without question.
    -Article 1, Section says, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts...."
    -The President is bound by his oath of office, Article 2, Section 1, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    So what is supposed to happen when Congress fails to act on paying debts? Does that mean the President must "defend the Constitution" from those who would trespass against it?

    July 6, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Dave

    This after the democrats fail to propose A SINGLE SPENDING BUDGET IN TWO YEARS....
    When are you people going to stop believing this incompetent, in-over-his-head, moron?

    July 6, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Bill from GA

    Maybe our President should have Treasury begin cutting some unnecessary expenses: Payroll for Congress, electricity for Congress, funds for staff, benefits, retirement, etc, for (you guessed it!!) Congress.

    July 6, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. NYC REPUB

    @Bill from GA
    I couldn't agree w/ u more......This congress, the 112th, voted in after the 2010 midterms, has done nothing for the economy, for six months.....Yet the media says nothing!!!!

    July 6, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue," Obama said
    -------------------------------------------------–
    No, we should'nt Mr. President. Real compromise NOT hostage negotiating should take place and the ceiling should be raised. However.....it is good that you know your options as president sir, and that 'they' know you know.

    July 6, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    No, we shouldn't even get to the Constitutional question on the Fourteenth Amendment's clear language about the debt, but the GOP is salivating over the possibility: if Obama invokes the 14th and orders Geithner to simply keep paying off our debt, the GOP will scream bloody murder that he's finally proven beyond doubt to be a tax-and-spend socialist with dreams of becoming the US's first dictator and no intention of "reining in spending."

    In fact, one might argue that this is indeed the GOP's entire game plan and why they are not negotiating in good faith, refusing to compromise on anything whatsoever, pulling out of debt talks when confronted with good suggestions, like getting rid of tax preferences for private corporate jet owners and, most of all, have been sneaking in some messaging about how it would be "no big deal' if the nation defaults on its debts "for a few days or a couple of weeks." They fully expect that Obama will cite the 14th and come to the rescue, opening the door for more McCarthyist nonsense from the right wing extremists and corproations running their show.

    "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."

    Guess what? The debt has already been "authorized by law." What we're talking about is raising the debt ceiling to accomodate the debt's growth AS A RESULT OF INTEREST ON PREVIOUS BORROWING. The debt ceiling is either unconstitutional to begin with OR the GOP is blatantly threatening to force a vioaltion of the Constitution by refusin to negotiate or compromise and thereby allowing the "validity of he public debt of the United States" to be "questioned." Yeah...check out what would happen to US bonds if the default happens.

    July 6, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "So what is supposed to happen when Congress fails to act on paying debts? Does that mean the President must "defend the Constitution" from those who would trespass against it?"

    It means he orders the debt paid anyway and, instead of the Executive pretending the debt ceiling set by Congress for political reasons was Constitutional, finally starts treating it as the unconstitutional political idiocy it is and which was solely invented by Congress to give themselves something to use as a political football. No POTUS has challenged it yet because it was just as convenient for his own party as the other party to have it there to play games with and point fingers of blame. This time, it may have to happen because the GOP thinks they can get something out of blaming the Dems and calling Obama a tyrant for disobeying their failure to raise the debt ceiling and unilaterally ordering Giethner to continue paying our debts.

    July 6, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Oregon Calling

    Totally agree with you Bill from GA.

    Peace :-)

    July 6, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Dave wrote:
    This after the democrats fail to propose A SINGLE SPENDING BUDGET IN TWO YEARS....
    When are you people going to stop believing this incompetent, in-over-his-head, moron?
    --------------
    The Democrts had spending bills in 2010. Unfortunately, for the greater good of the country, the Republicans promised to veto them in the Senate, or held them up in House committees with endless amendments just to keep them off the floor for a vote. This was done because the Republicans felt they would take over both chambers of Congress in 2010. That did not happen, so it is back to stall until the next election cycle for chance to regain the Senate.

    Fortunately, the entire Republican Party are acting like kids in a candy store and are about to get a rude awakening called a reality check. Haven't you noticed the handwriting on the wall this spring? No! You should have paid attention to all of the special elections held this past spring. Americans are angry over The Great Sucker Punch the GOP pulled in the 2010 elections.

    July 6, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. ConservaFASCISTS

    If the fascists republicans don't agree on revenue increases Mr. President, you will have to go the constitutional route to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution. The middle class are the only one's sacrificing and that's just morally wrong!

    July 6, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "What if i don't support you? To hell with my freedom???"

    Yes. That is generally the GOP's position. They chose corproations and the rich over teh rest of us, so the middle-class and poor have been getting an economic an-l raping for 30+ years while he GOP used their "trickle down" free market pixie dust unicorn fart ideology to redistribute a massive, overwhelming percentage of the nation's wealth to coroprations and the wealthy...and why in 2001 and 2003 they gave those same supporters massive tax cuts in order to enact the single biggest contributing factor to the current debt and deficit crisis that they are now using as their justification for fighting to destroy the societal safety net and all the programs that helped us create and grow a middle-class in the first place. Once the Civil Rights Act passed, the GOP and its new members that fled the Dem party because of it (like Thurmond) decided that the only thing left to do was take the government away from the people and give it to corporations and the obscenely wealthy...they'd had enough of "by the people, for the people" if that was going to be the result.

    July 6, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "It means he orders the debt paid anyway ..."
    --------------
    That's where it gets messy and turns in giant grey mud puddle. He can only authorize the payment of debts. That means he does not the power to authorize new spending above and beyond the current budget, FY2010-2011. Which means no money for emergencies like hurricanes or other natural disasters.

    July 6, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    I never thought democrats put Republicans in such bad shape go democrats

    Republicans raise debt ceiling with out any questions when Bush was president

    Republicans gave tax break when we have two wars on

    Now GM is back and hiring

    Republicans are saying to seniors rich need more money give your Medicare back

    July 6, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. pmk1953

    I think that all of the members of congress that signed pledges to anybody other than the gov't is committing treason and should be arrested for treason. Screw norquist, demint and any others. Arrest them for sedition.

    July 6, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. pmk1953

    I think that all of the members of congress that signed pledges to anybody other than the gov't is committing tre@son and should be arrested for tre@son. Screw norquist, demint and any others. Arrest them for sed!tion.

    July 6, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. John

    What we need Is to get the Republican to worry less about the TEA PARTY and more about the American People that can vote them out. They should really start Compromise and that mean the Rise In taxes.

    July 6, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. mikeonthebay

    The Obama Presidency is imploding. Marxism has never worked and this time is no different. "punish our enemies and reward our friends". Punishing enemies is from the Stalin, Lenin, Castro playbook. Obama has not idea what made this country great. For the good of the country, Mr President, please resign!!!!

    July 6, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    .... Americans are angry over The Great Sucker Punch the GOP pulled in the 2010 elections.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    The Republicans we sent to Washington have done an excellent job and have made a huge positive difference. To begin with, the 2011 Federal Budget is $100 billion less than what the Administration and Senate wanted. Now they may also get a $4 trillion reduction in spending as part of the debt ceiling increase negotiations. The Republicans were listening to what American voters said and they have not forgotten once they got to Washington.

    July 6, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Which means no money for emergencies like hurricanes or other natural disasters."

    Good thing those tend to happen in red states, eh? lol

    July 6, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "That's where it gets messy and turns in giant grey mud puddle. He can only authorize the payment of debts. That means he does not the power to authorize new spending above and beyond the current budget, FY2010-2011."

    Indeed. Polls show that the majority of people overall would blame the GOP if there's a default situation. People who party-affiliate have an obvious leaning, but the independents are a different story. They tend to notice things like who is willing to compromise and who is drawing irrational lines in the sand. Who do you think gets blamed when the SS and Medicare checks, etc., stop arriving? The GOP is certainly hoping it's Obama and the Dems, but they've had an impressive record of overreaching backfire in the past several years.

    July 6, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |