Four Senate Dems Willing to Throw the Constitution Out the Window for Obama

Jan 11, 2013

The Washington Post reports that four Senate Democrats, Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA), have written a letter to President Obama to express their blind and loyal support should he choose to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.

The letter says:

In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt limit extension as part of an unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promise and trigger a global economic crisis - without Congressional approval, if necessary.

"Unbalanced or unreasonable legislation" are code words for anything that would cut spending responsibly thereby drastically reducing our debt and averting a debt crisis in the future. It's also code for anything that would prevent liberals from continuing their reckless behavior. But it's all for the sake of the economy, of course.

Their preferred alternatives are the following:

Obama's two leading choices are the 14th amendment option, under which the president claims the power to ignore the debt ceiling, and the "platinum coin" option, under which Treasury mints one and deposits in the Federal Reserve, enabling the country to continue paying its debts.

These Senators' disregard for the Constitution is mind-blowing. Last time I checked, we live in a constitutional republic. Trampling the Constitution for political expediency is disgraceful and downright dangerous.

And if there is any question in these liberal lawmakers' minds about whether the president has the constitutional authority to raise the debt ceiling by himself, let's help them clear it up. He can't do it for the supposed sake of the global economy, and he can't do it because of the section four of the 14th Amendment. In fact, the opposite is true.

Heritage's Andrew Grossman explains:

As the federal government once again approaches the debt ceiling, partisans are again pulling out the heavy artillery: Don't bother negotiating with Republicans on taxes and spending, they tell the President, just declare the debt ceiling in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and ignore it.

As a matter of law, that gambit is just as wrongheaded as it was when this came up last year. As Heritage explained at the time:

Section four of the Fourteenth Amendment provides, "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."

This clause simply means that Congress and the President cannot question the validity of debt that is already incurred, but it in no way requires the nation to incur more debt. Even if it precludes temporary default-which is far from clear-it could not authorize the President to incur additional debt.

Obama's friends in the Senate might want to take some time to, you know, brush up on the Constitution. If they do, they might consider redrafting their letter. But thus far, they've made clear that their real intention is to usurp the constitutional authority explicitly given to Congress -- and withheld from the president -- to commit to spending, to raise revenue by enacting taxes, and to incur public debt.

It's a shame. If they gave the American people and the Constitution a fraction of the loyalty they give to Obama, this country would be in much better shape.