White House says it won’t turn to 14th Amendment, despite impending deadline

The Obama administration is rejecting speculation that the president will invoke the 14th Amendment to declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional, should negotiations with Congress fall through.

Under the amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned,” the president could find legal leeway to declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional, a series of lawyers and liberal politicos have argued.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney refuted the idea that administration lawyers were investigating the possibility of invoking executive power to forestall the debt crisis.

“I don’t think that I want to get into speculation about what might happen if something does or doesn’t happen,” Carney said. “I am not aware of any analysis being done by lawyers here, and I have not heard the President discuss it.”

However, at the president’s Twitter-themed town hall on Wednesday, Obama was slightly less direct in his rejection of the idea. When asked about the possibility that the White House would turn to the amendment in a last-ditch effort at preventing fiscal embarrassment, he responded simply, “I don’t think we should even get to the constitutional issue.”

Obama officials have repeatedly stated that the White House intends to settle negotiations over the debt ceiling in the next two weeks, which would leave Congress time to pass a bill by the Treasury Department’s deadline of August 2, when, Treasury analysts predict, the United States would hit its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling: “The consequences of defaulting on our obligations for the first time in the history of this country would be serious and unpredictable,” Carney said. “We need to move quickly. We should not procrastinate. We need to get this done.” (Major Garrett: Town hall a sign of anxiety at Obama reelection HQ)

And the White House is moving meetings forward correspondingly quickly. The president attended a series of unpublicized debt meetings this weekend, Carney confirmed, roughly a week after the vice presidential-led meetings collapsed when Republicans said they had reached an impasse and walked out. Obama also plans to host eight lawmakers on Thursday in a potentially marathon effort to reach an agreement.

Yet while repeating its intentions of reaching a solution by the end of July, the White House has also stood behind its goal of achieving a long-term answer rather than a temporary one within the tight time limit it faces. And the administration continues to publicly state that officials aren’t looking into the possibility of using the amendment as an emergency escape.

“The president was pretty clear that he does not support going in that direction,” Carney said of the potential for an interim increase in the debt ceiling to allow for more negotiating time. “And we’ve been clear prior to that … I think to stand here and say, yes, let’s kick the can down the road because we need another six months is crazy.” (Obama volunteers mistakes in Twitter town hall)

But this refusal to publicly address back-up solutions leaves the White House with a two-week time frame to craft a trillion-dollar deal on a highly debated issue, even as Obama officials promise to subdue Republicans on a series of points.

And the past several weeks of debt talks have been noticeably rocky, leaving pundits and lawmakers to wonder whether the White House could indeed be moving forward without considering alternative solutions.

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  • captaingrumpy

    Why would a little thing like a law stand in the way of Obama and his lot.
    Never has before.

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  • chinook101

    He can try to invoke the 14th Amendment but only congress has the authority to do so.

    Article 8: The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    Of course, BO only recognizes the Constitution when it benefits him.



    By now , the american public is well aware about what is going on with the current admininstration, – their roots, they agenda,tendencies and purposes.

    The Obama regime understands that their days are counting backwards at fast pace, and so, they will try to do as most injure possible with the time left.

    That is the reason FRAUD was perpatraed to preserve in place Mr Reid, Ms Pelosi and others in order to act as obstructionists against the process to free our country from the nefarious and insidious SABOTAGE PLAN TO DEATROY THE AMERICAN SYSTEM.

    As everyone should remember ‘OBSTRUCTIONIST’ was the term given to the republican minority when liberals were in majority short time back.

    Bottom line, since this is a clear battle to the end between patriots and traitiors,… benefit of the doubt nor truce should be given to liberals for they were – and still – ruthless doing and atempting to do even more damage in so many ways, to our great country.

    Now,take a pick;… who are the enemies of the people? / enemies of the state?..in other words who are the traitors here?…and who are acting lilke the patriots?

    Perhpas this could virtually summize it all; THE GOVERNMENT VS THE PEOPLE.

    Input anyone?

    Opinions welcome.

    Daniel Cabrera

  • Sproing

    It’s a good thing the White House is taking a pass on using the 14th Amendment since it has nothing to do with raising the debt limit. Raising the debt limit is specifically a power given to Congress by Article 1, Section 8, which includes most of the powers that impact monetary policy such as raising taxes,etc.

    The founders knew very well that the power to control the ‘purse strings’ was not to be left in the hands of any one man because of it’s ability to destroy and it’s ability to corrupt the democratic process. This was yet another example of Thier use of checks and balances to insure that no one branch became so powerful as to bring our Republic down.

  • 2gr8danes

    Given this administrations past record on saying what they won’t do, and then doing it anyway, invoking the 14th Amendment is pretty much a done deal.

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