Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

President can Invoke 31 USC 3102 -- the debt law itself!

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion: Presidency Donate to DU
 
Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:39 AM
Original message
President can Invoke 31 USC 3102 -- the debt law itself!
I just received this in an email -- is this a possible solutioin?


There has been some talk that the President can act unilaterally to
raise the nation debt limit based on Section 4 of the 14th Amendment
to the Constitution, which provides in pertinent part that "The
validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law .
. . shall not be questioned". The argument has been made that since
Congress has ALREADY authorized BY LAW each obligation represented in
the national debt, by appropriating the funds for various
expenditures, any overall "debt limit" is artificially redundant. It
would be like writing a bunch of checks and then refusing to deposit
the funds in your account to cover them. While a constitutional
challenge of the debt limit law may be a defensible argument in the
spirit of the 14th Amendment it is not unequivocally compelling, as
the 14th Amendment does not expressly authorize what proponents are
asking the President to do.

President Must Invoke 31 USC 3102 Action Page:
http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1082.php

With this context, it is astonishing that apparently nobody has
bothered to read the text of Public Debt Law of 1941 itself, embodied
in 31 USC 3101, which is what codifies a national debt limit. That
law states that

"The face amount of obligations issued under this chapter and the
face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are
guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed
obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) may not be more
than . . . "

Please take careful note of the words "EXCEPT guaranteed obligations
held by the Secretary of The Treasury". By undeniably clear law as
passed by Congress, such obligations are NOT constrained by any
so-called debt limit. Now all you have to do is run your finger down
to the very next section 31 USC 3102 and you will read

"With the approval of the President, the Secretary of the Treasury
may borrow on the credit of the United States Government amounts
necessary for expenditures authorized by law . . . "

By this section Congress gives the President the EXPRESS, inherent
and unilateral authority to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to
incur obligations to cover all expenditures authorized by law, which
is to say the sum of the appropriations bills Congress has already
passed. And as we have just so clearly demonstrated such obligations
are immune from any so-called debt ceiling limitation. Surely there
is some White House attorney smart enough to figure this all out as
we have.

The President must invoke this authority now, as he is fully
empowered to do by 31 USC 3102. And then Congress needs to get
serious about raising the revenues to pay its bills, and not just on
the backs of poor people.

President Must Invoke 31 USC 3102 Action Page:
http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1082.php
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. You may be on to something . . . . .
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
2. I am quite sure the President is aware of all the possibilities out there,
whether they apply or do not and whether he will use them or not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Yes because he's been soooo on top of things so far.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
woolldog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. lol
Good point.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
CakeGrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Yes, it'd be sooo smart to telegraph their full strategy dealing with nutbar Teabaggers.
:eyes:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. They don't have to deal with the Tea Party.
They have what 40 votes in Congress? You don't look to appease the radicals, you look to the Republicans if you're looking to work out a compromise. Of course, compromise is bull shit. He should have been steadfast from the beginning and veto anything that wasn't a clean increase. Of course, he has no backbone, and they knew that, so we get to suffer because of it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Well yes, he shouldn't telegraph it to the Teabaggers, but it was remiss of him
not to keep Fearless informed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Why shouldn't he tell the Tea Party that he's going to do this if they don't act?
What harm could that possible cause? If he has the power, there is nothing they can do but whine. Meanwhile, if he is sitting on it, we're now going to lose our credit rating, the markets worldwide are plummeting, people's retirement funds are depleting AGAIN, AND he's losing the support of his base.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. LOL :) n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Old Codger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. I too
Feel fairly sure that he is aware of this, the section sounds as if it applies, if he is in fact aware, and does not invoke this authority he is guilty of a serious breach in his duty to the citizens of this country. He may be holding this as a last resort, personally that is not a good idea as he is then allowing the rest of the world to hang on our political games... They already think we are insane by allowing this to go as far as it has and they may very well be correct in this assumption.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Til when? 30 seconds before midnight? 20? 10?
Meanwhile the markets plummet, retirement funds are devaluing, the debt rating will fall, and we will end up paying billions for a theater act?? I'm sorry. IF this is legitimate, I see no conscionable reason that he could be withholding it if he knew.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Old Codger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. I have no idea
I also am totally fed up with our government, Obama, Reid , and all repugs and tp folks, they are self centered assholes the whole damn bunch.. congress, the senate and the white house... They have given us to new swear words... "bipartisan" and "compromise" .
Once again I will have to hold my nose when I continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, and the difference is becoming hard to discern.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
3. Funny how nobody, even Ed or Tweety or KO, nobody has mentioned this...
Not surprising, tho, as all are part of the MSM.

So, I am encouraged by this and I have to believe that the POTUS is aware of it and at least a few of his opponents.

Thanks for this post, I recommend it.

:patriot:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
CakeGrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. I imagine the former Constitutional Law professor has been
talking over all the options with WH counsel.

He will never be as stupid or shortsighted as some people on this forum want or wish him to be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Based on what? What evidence has he shown that he knows what he's doing in this?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Its his motives I worry about.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
vroomvroom Donating Member (496 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
15. Obama Risk the backhand of the Republicans and Fox News? No Chance nt
Edited on Sun Jul-31-11 11:59 AM by vroomvroom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. Whew! Glad we've found the solution, just in time.
All it took was a little legal research!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. Unfortunately I think I've found why 31 USC 3101b is not a viable option.
Edited on Sun Jul-31-11 12:33 PM by Fearless
It lies within the phrase "except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury". It seems that the Treasury itself has given up or else affirmed that they do not have the power to contribute above and beyond the debt ceiling "during a debt limit crisis". There was a statement made by the Treasury and I've included a link and the relevant parts below....



THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY'S AUTHORITY WITH
RESPECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT AND
DISABILITY FUND
Nov. 10 1995

{snip}

You have requested advice from this Office on the Secretary of the Treasury's ("Secretary") authority with respect to the investment assets of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund ("CSRDF" or "Fund") during a debt limit crisis. Specifically, you have asked this Office:

(1) whether the statute governing the Fund allows the Secretary to suspend the investment of Fund contributions in Treasury-issued, United States debt obligations that are subject to 31 U.S.C. 3101(b) (the "debt limit") (such debt obligations herein referred to as "obligations of the United States") during a debt limit crisis;

(2) whether the Secretary has the authority to disinvest or redeem Fund investment assets during a debt limit crisis; and

(3) if the Secretary has the authority to disinvest or redeem, the conditions under which such authority may be exercised.

{snip}

You have informed us that Treasury is considering altering this process during the impending debt limit crisis. You have suggested that the Secretary might be prohibited by the debt limit from investing additional CSRDF contributions.

{snip}

Congress in 1986 established rules under which the Secretary could, during a debt limit crisis, suspend the investment of Fund contributions and take other related ameliorative actions involving the Fund.

{snip}

Obligations of the United States issued to the CSRDF are subject to the debt limit. See 5 U.S.C. 8348(d).(4) Concerned that a failure to increase the debt limit might negatively affect the Fund's financial condition(5) and apparently aware of the overriding public interest in ensuring that a debt limit crisis not trigger default on obligations of the United States,(6) Congress in 1986 established rules under which the Secretary could, during a debt limit crisis, suspend the investment of Fund contributions and take other related ameliorative actions involving the Fund. See Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-509, 6002(a)-(c), 100 Stat. 1874, 1931-33 (codified at 5 U.S.C. 8348(j)-(l)) (the "1986 Amendments").

Under the 1986 amendments, "the Secretary . . . may suspend additional investment of amounts in the Fund if such additional investment could not be made without causing the public debt of the United States to exceed the . . . debt limit." 5 U.S.C. 8348(j)(1). The 1986 amendments also provide that "the Secretary . . . may sell or redeem securities, obligations, or other invested assets of the Fund before maturity in order to prevent the public debt of the United States from exceeding the . . . debt limit." Id. 8348(k)(1). The Secretary's redemption authority may be exercised, however, "only during a debt issuance suspension period, and only to the extent necessary to obtain any amount of funds not exceeding the amount equal to the total amount of the payments authorized to be made from the Fund" during the debt issuance suspension period. Id. 8348(k)(2)

http://www.justice.gov/olc/civser11_rev.htm



Essentially it seems as though the Secretary of the Treasury in this case is allowed to essentially sell assets so as to meet his commitments but CANNOT breach the debt ceiling for payment towards the CSRDF which is a program "to support the payment of retirement and disability benefits to certain former employees of the federal government." It states (I put it in bold) that assets contributed to the fund are to be suspended if the debt limit is reached. These contributions are of course in the form of government funding. I'm assuming that this will also ring true for other government funding programs. I assume that they will simply stop printing checks to keep the debt limit from being breached. That is my guess and it explains why this hasn't been seriously brought up before.


Edit: Format
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Imajika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-11 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
19. Let it go, this stuff is never going to happen..
..ever.

The President knows all his options and has some of the best lawyers in the world to base his opinions on. No gimmick, 14th amendment stunt, etc, is going to be viable. There are just too many downsides.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Sep 21st 2014, 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion: Presidency Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC