House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to use the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, even though such action would be constitutionally questionable (and yes, I’m aware of the arguments that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional):
Rep. James Clyburn and a group of House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress can’t come up with a satisfactory plan before the Tuesday deadline.
Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”
“If that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term lifting of the ceiling, the debt ceiling, he should put it on his desk next to an executive order,” Clyburn said at a press conference. “He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue.” The Associated Press reported that he was applauded when he suggested the idea at a caucus meeting earlier in the day.
“I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets,” Clyburn added, noting that President Harry Truman did it once during his presidency after Congress was unable to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
Raising the debt ceiling will have no bearing on agencies decision to downgrade our credit rating. What they don’t seem to understand is that credit rating agences don’t believe the United States will going into technical default. It’s the question of whether or not a bill passes that will reduce the deficit by a sufficent amount, which has been pegged at $4 trillion; a goal that neither the Boehner or Reid plans accomplish.