In recent weeks, the president’s aides have hinted they may seek to evade the Congress’ authority over the debt limit, because the GOP is demanding long-term spending reforms in exchange for another increase in the nation’s credit limit, now at $16.4 trillion.
Under President Barack Obama’s current spending plans, the nation’s debt is slated to reach $20 trillion by 2017.
That’s up by $10 trillion from 2009, and it will impose a debt worth $125,000 for every working-age American.
One option that White House officials have not disavowed would be the creation of a platinum coin with a nominal value of $1 trillion. In theory, the coin would be minted and provided to the Treasury to serve as collateral for continued borrowing.
The reported letter being sent by Democrats to Obama downplays the nature of the deference to the executive branch — a radical break from a Constitution that is designed to divide power between both branches of Congress, the executive branch and the judiciary.
“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,” reads the letter, according to the Post.
The Friday afternoon revelation continues the Democratic-run Senate practice of deferring to the Democratic-run executive branch, now run by Obama.
In 2012, for example, top Senate Democrats refused to oppose Obama’s declaration he had the right to appoint people when he decides the Senate is in recess.
The Democrats’ deference to Obama’s appointments undermines its critical power to Article 2 of the Constitution to give their “advice and consent” to senior appointments in the executive branch.
Similarly, since 2009 the Senate has failed to draft and debate a national budget, ensuring that each annual budget is developed in a closed-door conclave composed of top leaders from the House, the Senate and the executive branch.
This process minimizes the role played by Senate committee or by senators outside the leadership. But it does not clearly contravene the Constitution, where Article 1 reads that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”