Showing all posts tagged: Boehner
So, it seems that Boehner is start to show his cards to Obama on the fiscal cliff struggle: he is threatening more debt ceiling blackmail, saying that in exchange for tax raises on the rich, ‘there is a price for everything’. This is being read as a soon-to-be-made-obvious threat to block the raising of the debt ceiling.
As many suggested last year, Obama should simply raise the debt limit by executive order, and many democrats agree:
Debt limit: The other fiscal fight - Carrie Budoff Brown and Jake Sherman via POLITICO.com
Congressional Democrats are pushing Obama to hold firm. They’ve even privately suggested Obama consider raising the debt ceiling without Congress. Their argument is that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says the “validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned,” which means the president can raise the cap on his own.
In fact, at the tail end of a news conference on Nov. 15, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said as much publicly, although the offhanded remark largely flew under the radar.
“Well, I am with the 11th Amendment, so, is it the 11th Amendment that — 14th?” Pelosi said. “Whatever it is, I am with the Constitution of the United States.”
Nothing raises the ire of Republicans in Congress like the specter of Obama taking matters into his own hands. If the White House goes that route and raises the debt ceiling by executive order, Boehner and his leadership team would likely take immediate legal action to halt the debt ceiling increase, sources familiar with his thinking said.
If Obama sidestepped the congress, we’d be in the Supreme Court in days, and it’s uncharted territory. The court might simply decide not to hear the case:
Debt-limit standoff: Top Democrats revive 14th Amendment option to raise ceiling - Brad Plumer and Aaron Blake via The Washington Post
But many legal scholars are suggesting that Obama could do it [unilaterally raise the debt limit].
Jack Balkin, a law professor at Yale, has laid out how this would work. At some point after Tuesday’s deadline, Obama would face the demands of multiple contradicting laws. On the one hand, the government is required to pay out money that has already been appropriated. On the other, it would not be allowed to float new debt to cover its obligations.
So, Balkin notes, Obama “has a constitutional duty to treat at least one of the laws as unconstitutional as applied to the current circumstances.” And the wording of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment suggests that the debt ceiling would have to give way: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned.”
If Obama interpreted that clause to mean that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional and authorized the Treasury Department to begin issuing new debt, it’s not clear that anyone could stop him. As Jeffrey Rosen writes in the New Republic, individual members of Congress would not have standing to sue — Congress would need to pass a joint resolution, which is unlikely given Democratic control of the Senate.
It is also unlikely that individual taxpayers or bondholders would have standing.
“The most likely outcome is that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear the case,” Rosen argues. And if a suit did make it through, Rosen adds, even the conservative justices would probably rule in Obama’s favor — at least if they held to their judicial philosophies.
- Can Obama Simply Raise the Debt Limit? (underpaidgenius.com)
- 14th Amendment, Section 4: Obama Should Simply Raise The Debt Limit (underpaidgenius.com)
- A Dr Strangelove Moment? (underpaidgenius.com)
- Republicans Still Dodge Reality on Taxes (nytimes.com)
- There’s No Such Thing as a Free Debt Ceiling. Unless… (prospect.org)
- Oh yeah, the debt ceiling. Yawn. (dailykos.com)