Sunday, July 24, 2011

Using 14th Amendment to Raise - NYTimes.com

Using 14th Amendment to Raise - NYTimes.com

A few days ago, former President Bill Clinton identified a constitutional escape hatch should President Obama and Congress fail to come to terms on a deficit reduction plan before the government hits its borrowing ceiling.

On Friday, Mr. Obama rejected the idea, though not in categorical terms.

“I have talked to my lawyers,” Mr. Obama said. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

The provision in question, Section 4 of the amendment, was meant to ensure the payment of Union debts after the Civil War and to disavow Confederate ones. But it was written in broader terms.

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion,” the critical sentence says, “shall not be questioned.”

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