Why can Section 4, 14th Amendment be used to by-pass Congress in the need to raise the debt ceiling?
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment says, in part, "The validatity of the public debt of the Unidted States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned." It is this statement that some say give the President the authority to force the payment of the national debt. The rest of the words of Section 4 don't appear to bear on the question.
I wish I could edit the question so I could spell United States properly.
Anyway, as I understand from the news, Conservatives are counting on the President invoking this section of the Amendment to save the day at end of the day hoping to make political hay if he does. I have also heard that the there are those in the White House that have considered the use of this Amendment as well.
Having read this section in its entirety, I cannot fathom the logic trail that would be used from getting from "the validatity of the public debt ... shall not be questioned" to "the public debt must be paid".
Does any one have any thoughts on how this might be argued?
In spite of what Treasury Secretary Geithner suggested... the President does not have any authority to spend or raise money. That responsibility, constitutionally, lies with the Congress. Some are trying to re-define the 14th amendment for political purposes. It will not stand up. Raising the debt ceiling is, in fact, raising revenue and the President , for very good reasons, does not have that authority. Only Congress has the constitutional authority to raise revenue. Section 4 makes the case very clearly for Congress and against the President.
The United States treasury will continue to receive revenues before ,during, and after an artificial date has been declared as "default day". There are several options open to the congress to avoid "defaulting" and they will choose one. This is a political and philosophical argument far more than a purely fiscal one.
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