HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » House Democrat: If Republ...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:41 AM

House Democrat: If Republicans Hold Debt Ceiling Hostage, Invoke 14th Amendment To Raise It

Now we're getting serious:

--

Some leading Republicans are starting to openly talk of once against holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to get Democrats to agree to painful cuts. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) even suggested using the debt ceiling as “leverage” to force Democrats to agree to cuts in Medicare and Social Security Benefits.

House Democrat Peter Welch (D-VT) has had enough with these hostage tactics. This week, he began circulating a letter among his colleagues that asks President Obama to use every means at his disposal — including invoking the 14th amendment — to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling in the event that Republicans once again try to hold it hostage. Here’s a full copy of the letter:

Read more: http://boldprogressives.org/democratic-congressman-if-republicans-try-to-hold-debt-ceiling-hostage-invoke-14th-amendment-and-raise-it-anyway/

19 replies, 1355 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply House Democrat: If Republicans Hold Debt Ceiling Hostage, Invoke 14th Amendment To Raise It (Original post)
Report1212 Dec 2012 OP
mcctatas Dec 2012 #1
Report1212 Dec 2012 #4
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #2
Shrek Dec 2012 #3
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #5
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #11
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #15
EC Dec 2012 #9
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #16
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2012 #6
Report1212 Dec 2012 #7
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2012 #8
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #12
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2012 #13
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2012 #18
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #19
bluestate10 Dec 2012 #10
pnwmom Dec 2012 #14
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #17

Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:52 AM

1. we don't negotiate with terrorists

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mcctatas (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:09 AM

4. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:54 AM

2. A minor quibble with their terminology

The President wouldn't use the 14th Amendment to "raise" the debt ceiling. He would simply make the argument that, because of the 14th Amendment, which declares all public debts are valid, that the concept of a debt limit is unconstitutional. In other words, POTUS would simply ignore the debt ceiling and carry on.

If Congress doesn't like that, they would have to take the case to the SCOTUS. By the time the SCOTUS heard the case, we would be well past the number in the Congressional debt limit, so that would give SCOTUS a very unpleasant choice:

a) declare the debt limit unconstitutional, thereby removing this as a leverage point forever; or

b) causing the shutdown of the government.

When it comes down to it, I think the SCOTUS would declare it unconstitutional because it is, and because they want no part of being blamed for a government shutdown. Further, I think the GOP would realize that either outcome is a big loser for them because Obama would be able to use the bully pulpit to make sure everybody blames the out-of-control teabaggers who already enjoy a whopping 10% favorability rating.

So the simple threat of invoking the 14th would take this leverage completely out of the GOP's hands.

It is absolutely insane -- really stupid negotiating strategy, to take this off the table. Even if Obama doesn't really want to go that path, a good negotiator makes his opponent game-plan for all the possibilities.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BlueStreak (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:01 AM

3. I don't follow your argument

In what way does a debt ceiling question the validity of existing debt?

Doesn't it just limit the amount of new debt the government can incur?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Shrek (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:26 AM

5. The 14th amendment says nothing about "existing debt"

Allow me to quote word for word:

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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.


In fact, it says the opposite. It doesn't say "all debts incurred before this amendment was ratified" or "all debts already on the books but not future debts". it says "the debt authorized by law". That means all debt, because all of our debt is authorized by law.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BlueStreak (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 04:35 AM

11. It says "debt authorized by law"

There is currently on the books a law, passed by Congress and signed by the President, under which the federal government is not authorized to incur debt above a specified amount. I don't see how the Fourteenth Amendment can be read as saying that debt incurred in direct violation of such a statute is nevertheless "debt authorized by law".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim Lane (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:16 AM

15. All the spending that created the debt is authorized by law

The point is, make the Republicans prove that the 14th amendment doesn't work here. There are plenty of scholars who believe it does, and my opinion is that the SCOTUS would have a very tough time ruling otherwise. The Amendment seems perfectly clear to me. The effect of the debt ceiling is to put the credit of the nation into question, and that is exactly what the Amendment says cannot happen.

By invoking the 14th amendment, this takes the hostage power away from the GOP no matter how the issue is ultimately decided. Obama wins regardless of the outcome.

Taking even the threat of the 14th off the table is horrible negotiating -- really inept.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Shrek (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:56 AM

9. No

It's about debt already approved by Congress that has to be paid. Not future NEW debts. It's all about existing debt.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EC (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:17 AM

16. Tell me where it says that.

There is not one single word in the amendment to that effect.

Quote the portion of the amendment that says that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:29 AM

6. I saw this question on a blog somewhere and it made me stop and think:

If Congress has already authorized payment for certain things, doesn't that imply the authority of the Treasury to pay for them, so why do we even have to have a "debt ceiling" anyway, since raising the debt ceiling is about paying for stuff we've already authorized payment for in the first place?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:31 AM

7. Honestly, we shouldn't have one

It's a silly idea.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Report1212 (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:43 AM

8. I had actually never even heard of it until last year

I guess it got raised so often with so little protest (if any) that it just passed unremarked year after year.............until Barack Obama was elected POTUS and now the Republicans seem intent on continuously using it to hold the country hostage for "spending cuts" that will take money out of programs they don't like and have been trying to kill forever. It will stop being an issue of course as soon if and when a Republican gets elected POTUS again

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 04:46 AM

12. It hasn't "passed unremarked year after year."

During the George W. Bush administration, when passage of an increase in the debt ceiling was certain, some Democrats voted against it. They used the vote as a vehicle to express their disapproval of Bush's fiscal policies. In addition, they wanted to force the Republicans to "own" the increased debt that their policies had created.

One of the Democrats voting against an increase in the debt ceiling was... Senator Barack Obama.

Of course, now that Obama sits at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, he has a different perspective on the matter. IIRC, he has said that his vote against raising the debt ceiling was a mistake.

I agree with you that, if Romney had won, most of the Republicans would have cheerfully gone along with the debt-ceiling increase that they now denounce as a threat to the nation's survival. To be fair, though, we need to acknowledge that this approach is found on both sides of the aisle. If Romney had won, some of the Democrats who now support raising or even abolishing the debt ceiling would be voting against any increase.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jim Lane (Reply #12)


Response to Jim Lane (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:14 PM

18. There's a distinct difference between casting a purely symbolic vote against something

and refusing to do something that's going to harm our credit rating, economy, etc. To my knowledge, the Democrats have NEVER held raising the debt ceiling hostage like the Republicans did last year which was unprecedented in American history (not to mention an awful idea to begin with). Unless you have contrary information, there is no equivalency between the two situations IMHO.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:20 PM

19. i thought my post made that clear.

As I said, the context of the votes by Obama and other Democrats was "when passage of an increase in the debt ceiling was certain". I wasn't asserting that the two situations were equivalent.

I didn't elaborate on that because my main point was to refute the idea that the debt ceiling increase had previously "passed unremarked". Past increases were remarked, in that they were used as the occasion to make a political point.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:14 PM

10. I just don't understand why President Obama has taken the 14th off the table.

The President should invoke the 14th and keep invoking it until republicans agree to a 5 or 10 year debt limit review agreement. The country's finances will be damaged by debt limit fights every 6 months.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 06:11 AM

14. I read an explanation somewhere of why that wouldn't work -- sorry,

I don't remember the Constitutional details.

HOWEVER, the writer suggested Obama do what Clinton successfully did when it happened to him: let the government shut down, and the Rethugs will quickly roll over. Because the only thing Obama is Constitutionally required to do is pay off the government's debt -- so bondholders come first in line. If there isn't enough left over, then Obama has to stop paying social security recipients, the military, government workers -- it's a nightmare. But it would be a very quick nightmare.

Because everyone would know -- just like they did with Clinton -- that it was the Rethug's fault.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:29 AM

17. It would be a multi-stage thing.

The first stage is for Obama to put in on the table. That forces the GOP to start to factor that into their negotiations.

If that doesn't force them to a reasonable compromise on things, then the second stage is to actually ignore the debt ceiling once the number is reached -- and to say so publicly. GOP heads would explode, but that would force them to take stock again. Their choices at that point are:

1) Deal with the POTUS and reach a compromise that includes an extension to the debt ceiling -- making the Constitutional question moot.

2) Take it to the SCOTUS. I don't know how quickly the court would hear this. Maybe a Constitutional scholar could tell us what options the SCOTUS has to expedite things or if there is another court that could potentially issue a restraining order binding on the President.

If the GOP has the stomach for that second option, they should expect the president to be aggressively using the bully pulpit to explain to the public why this is happening. The Congress has approved spending, but they just can't control themselves. The President has tried for years to work with them to get their reckless spending and tax-cutting under control, but they are incapable of getting the job done. This is a battle of a guy with over 50% approval against an institution with only 10% approval. Obama wins that one.

In the worst case, SCOTUS would declare the 14th amendment invalid, which would trigger an immediate shutdown of government. Obama would proceed with the same kind of operation that Clinton used (twice) when Gingrich took that course. Clinton was the big winner. Obama would be the winner, clearly. And if this could all play out as we a re approaching the 2014 mid-terms, so much the better. We are not far from re-taking the House.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread