Democrats urge Obama to be ready to bypass Congress on debt cap

Comments (42)
justinolcb wrote:

so now anybody can interpret the Constitution to mean whatever they want it to mean??
So let’s do this, interpret the Constitution to say, oh I dont know, maybe if the president or his administration blatantly lies to the American public they should be impeached…wait – it already says that!! Now why has he not been impeached because every State of the Union address he has lied to us!

Jan 11, 2013 5:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
elpaso wrote:

No facts, no specifics, no quotes, no proof, no sources —-equals BS lies.

Jan 11, 2013 5:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:

Did we elect a dictator? Sure seems like he thinks a win means he can do anything he wants regardless of our constitution. We are on a slippery slope.

Jan 11, 2013 5:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Phil65 wrote:

There is nothing unconstitutional about this. The President should simply raise the debt limit if he thinks it is constitutionally justified and the Republicans should sue to the Supreme Court if they think it is not.

The Supreme Court will then decide. No fuss, no mess. That’s the way the “American Process” works (as opposed to the “Tea Party Process”)

Of course, I think Obama will wipe the slate with the Republicans….again! But ya never know. Ya might actually win one. Then the Tea Party can try to hold the rest of the nation hostage to get their agenda passed.

Jan 11, 2013 5:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:

You righties/Obama haters really do not get it do you? you keep marginalizing yourselves with the comments like ‘He lies!’ or the dictator references. Obama has not lied about ONE thing in his State of the Unions, just because you can not handle the truth does not make it a lie, and Obama has shown ZERO ‘dictorial’ indications, in fact if anything he has been TOO conciliatory towards the right. If congress is going to vote to pay THEIR OWN bills, someone has to act like an adult and pay the bills.

Jan 11, 2013 6:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
moweddell wrote:

How far left has the political spectrum turned? There was a time when “politicians” from all parties looked to the Constitution for solutions and guidance to American problems. Now we actually hear from prominant leaders, even Senators, advocating methods to not only to y circumvent the constitution, but openly, without any fear from citizens and voters, advocate an assumption of power by the Executive branch reserved by this Constitution for the Legislatures -House and Senate! Thomas Jefferson once said: (paraphrased)” When the people fear the government we have tyranny, when the government fears the people, we have freedom.” Apprantly, since this quote is 200 years old, many ignor it thinking it is no longer applicable. Our forefathers exercised genius in establishing a new form of government that has never existed before and has to date lead the world in success. To change directions and destroy what they created is stupidity, even madness. Citizens, beware of who and what you support, get properly informed and pay attention to and honor your country, heritage, including the Constitution and Bill of Rights..

Jan 11, 2013 6:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tizneh wrote:

The debt ceiling game needs to end right now, or we will face a grave future.

The very fact that we face this dilemma now, a year and a half after the first debt ceiling scare in the summer of 2011, shows how unwise the President was to agree to any conditions on raising the debt ceiling in the first place.

In 2011, agreement was eventually reached, but the very act of haggling about the conditions led to a credit downgrade for the US. If this sort of game becomes habitual, it is hard to believe that it won’t lead to higher interest rates and a lower level of economic activity: precisely the stuff deficit hawks are supposed to care about.

The President should have been firm back then and told the Republicans: no conditions, period. It is a lot harder to do that the second time around. Likewise, it would have been easy to invoke the 14th Amendment back then; to do so now, after White House officials have already publicly rejected the legal reasoning involved, would look like rank hypocrisy. It will be difficult. But somehow the President has got to stick to his guns and refuse to negotiate, even if they threaten impeachment.

The truth is that it is not the right time to deal with the national debt. Any measure to rein in the deficit, if it is serious, risks a double dip recession. Even the fiscal cliff deal and the end of the payroll tax holiday could shave more than 1 percentage point off GDP growth only expected to be in the range of 2-2.5 % in 2013. If we allow either the full sequester or, worse, some new spending cuts to “pay for” the debt ceiling increase, we could be looking at a flat line and prolonged unemployment for millions of people.

To get to a new recession by way of a new debt ceiling fiasco would just add a constitutional crisis to an economic one. Congress levies taxes and appropriates money. If there is is not enough revenue to take care of the spending authorized by law, if the Treasury is not authorized to issue debt for the difference, the President cannot exercise his constitutional duty of executing the laws. He would have to break a law (the debt ceiling) in order to do his constitutional duty. Do we really want to go down this road?

Anyone familiar with the history of Latin America since its Wars of Independence knows how even well designed constitutions can fail because of rival politicians who engage in completely uninhibited partisan warfare. Our system contains many “veto points” which those bent on sabotage could use to make it completely dysfunctional. The debt ceiling must not become yet another one.

Jan 11, 2013 6:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DrStrangehair wrote:

The Debt limit is a statute. The Congress and Obama have passed the Sandy relief statute for $9,000,000,000, in 2013. That bill extends the debt limit.

Jan 11, 2013 6:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
billpr wrote:

Its just so much fun to see you guys squirm.. The GOP has been playing dirty ever since Nixon, remember “dirty tricks”,. The Dems have finally learned how to play the same game and now you’re upset. You’ve called Obama every name and LIED time and time again in the last election and you still lost,, This is so great.. BTW stick with the NRA, Wall Street, the racists, the bigots, etc. and you’ll continue to lose..

Jan 11, 2013 6:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:

It was a video…I will not raise taxe on middle class…two is enough. Actually one is enough…..he lied, you lied. There are more. You and him.

Jan 11, 2013 6:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
acd wrote:

Why is it so hard for the democrats to admit that a lot of republicans won election to government a few month ago as well and in fact more republicans than democrats. I think the people spoke. Thus for the administration to think they do not have to compromise is un American and some of the talk from Reid goes against every thing this country and our form of government stands for.

Jan 11, 2013 6:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
billpr wrote:

One more thing.. NOT EVERY Republican is a racist or bigot, BUT EVERY racist or bigot IS a Republican.So sad, my wifes Yoga instructor at the local YMCA, who also teaches Sunday School at her Church and is otherwise thought of as a wonderful person had this to say the day after the election. “Can you believe it, we have to put up with four more years of that black socialist ba….rd”..

Jan 11, 2013 6:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
notthistime wrote:

He’s an idiot. And yes, I realize that makes me a racist, nazi, blah blah blah. This whole catastrophe would actually be funny if it weren’t so horribly sad. They continue burning the country to the ground, while the sycophants insist that the fire is great for keeping warm and is fun to watch. We are now, and have been for 4 painful years, the laughing stock of the world community.

Now let’s all act surprised.

Jan 11, 2013 6:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse

I think it’s time that the Executive got it’s britches trimmed. It’s blatant disregard for the Constitution is almost unbelievable.

Jan 11, 2013 7:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
billpr wrote:

notthistime.. “world community” for you guys to use that is ridiculous. Prior to Obama the “world” hated us..The reality is if he ran for “orld President”, he would win in a landslide..

TangledUpInBlue.. the “Constitution”. I’m all for EVERY Adult in this country to be issued a ONE-SHOT Musket to hunt for FOOD or to fend off those pesky Indians

Jan 11, 2013 7:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
smit1610 wrote:

I say let them. It will lose in the courts and allowing the sequester to go through will provide the necessary spending cuts. Remember, the White House came up with the sequester idea and Obama approved it and signed it into law. This provides adequate leverage to get real spending cuts.

Jan 11, 2013 7:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Slammy wrote:


I think the article is referring to a little known and never used provision of the 14th Amendment that states:

“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”

Since the United States has always raised the debt ceiling the exact meaning of this provision has never been tested or interpreted by the courts. Some legal scholars read this phrase to mean the United States is prohibited by its charter to default and the raising of the debt ceiling must happen per the constitution. Congresses bickering over it all these years has therefore been an unnecessary formality.

The purpose of this provision, as I understand it, was to make sure Confederate pensions and war debts were paid back once the succeeding states were reincorporated into the Union. No one has any idea if this will hold up if the Democrats use it to arbitrarily raise the debt ceiling.

Jan 11, 2013 8:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
totherepublic wrote:

I am begining to have the same feeling for the obama supporters that I had for the Iraqi soldiers when we first went for Desert Storm. You poor souls really don’t have a clue what you have let him get you into do you?

Jan 11, 2013 8:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ConradU812 wrote:

The left is right. We should just keep lifting the ceiling and increasing spending until, one day in the near future, we’ll have to use exponential notation to describe the national debt.

It’s analogous to driving with an empty tank and the accelerator floored so you’ll get where you’re going before you run out of gas.

Jan 11, 2013 8:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ConradU812 wrote:

The left is right. We should just keep lifting the ceiling and increasing spending until, one day in the near future, we’ll have to use exponential notation to describe the national debt.

It’s analogous to driving with an empty tank and the accelerator floored so you’ll get where you’re going before you run out of gas.

Jan 11, 2013 8:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ConradU812 wrote:


You’re neither literate or funny.

Jan 11, 2013 8:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:

obama is a racist and a bigot and he is not a Republican.

Jan 11, 2013 8:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

Only in America can a politician hold a news conference against an issue they created. Congress wrote AND passed all the spending bills that eventually takes us up to and beyond the current ridiculous debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is simply a reflection of those actions. The rest is just more political drama. If Congress threatens a default on the debt, Obama should simply raise it by executive order and let the Republicans take him to court. I’d love to hear the SC’s take on this foolishness. I think the language in the 14th Amendment is clear enough. Congress authorized the spending so pay the freakin’ bills, PERIOD! Nothing else needed in that discussion. Secondly, when will the non-stop asinine news conferences from the Republicans stop. Write a freakin bill for crying out loud. Congress can have any budget they want and there’s nothing the president can do about it. This is simply more political theatre (like the Fiscal cliff) where the Republicans can’t even negotiate with each other to get legislation passed, so they are passing the buck and trying to blame everyone else for their own irresponsibility. Throw the bozos out in the next election cycle.

Jan 11, 2013 9:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

bobber1956….the ONLY taxes that the middle class are paying more of is the social security tax. S.S. withholdings were TEMPORARILY reduced by 2% to help stimulate the economy. Congress agreed to this relief and the TEMPORARY 2% tax relief in S.S. paycheck deductions was set to expire in January 2013 from the start. Everyone except apparently YOU knows this.

Jan 11, 2013 10:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse

The President should not spend time “negotiating” with those who don’t want to negotiate. Mconnell has never wanted to work with Obama and Boehner can’t herd cats in the House. Raise the ceiling, put Lew to work on the deficit…….focus on gun control and immigration.

Jan 11, 2013 10:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AZ1811 wrote:

Representation with taxation – that’s what is going on now.

In the 1700′s people in this country, ruled by the Brits, got angry because they were being taxed and had no representation in the Brits parliament. So they rebelled (Boston tea party and revolution).

Now we have 50% of the population paying no federal income tax and almost half receiving some government benefit (unemployment, food stamps etc.) but all of them have a representative in Congress.

I call that representation without taxation. What are we becoming???

Jan 11, 2013 10:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
JBltn wrote:

Basically 2 comments and a question. I am fed up with the idiots and ideological driven GOP House majority holding the US government, national economy and a probable credit rating downgrade hostage to a politically driven agenda; showing a total lack of honesty, any vestige on integrity, and common sense while disregarding American voter’s voiced demands. GOP Senator McConnell keeps lying about Social Security and Medicare by naming them ‘entitlement’ programs when actually Social Security is by totally funded by employee payroll deductions and employer matching payroll contributions and Medicare also is funded by employee payroll deductions. [‘The Federal government owes the Social Security Trust Fund almost $5 TRILLION dollars] McConnell you are a liar and hypocrite. From the 1st paycheck to the last I was subject to automatic payroll deductions paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. That created a legal contract, basically a self funded retirement annuity, and by law bearing interest, determined daily, that I made, bi-weekly ‘investments’ into America for 46 years. The Investment trust fund, managed by a separate Board, and responsible for the fund ,and repay that 46 year loan plus interest accrued until I died and provided my wife, if still alive, survivor benefits until she dies and that would cancel the government debt owed me.
Question Mitch, when you were 1st elected in 1984, were you subject to mandatory payroll deduction and withholding and paid into the Social Security Trust Fund? Answer for Mitch – Yes, however 1984 to present – Depends on which one of 4 plan he chose but basically he is required to pay approx 1.3% in to the SSTF and pay approximately 5.1% into the one of the other 3 plans he chose but that information is not available; the Federal Employee Retirement System is not Yes or No Mitch? Prior to 1984 Congress members didn’t pay ANY Social Security taxes and covered by the Federal Employee Pension Plan [WHAT?HOW CAN Congressmen join FERS, they are NOT employees – because they said they could]]Congressmen elected after 1984 were automatically covered by the plan. Or did you self-serving career politicians exempted your selves and created multiple pension plan that fully vest after 5 years in Congress and eligible to draw at age 62 with some very generous benefits; get this [As of October 1, 2011, 495 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service. Of this number, 280 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $70,620. A total of 215 Members had retired with service under FERS and were receiving an average annual pension of $39,576 in 2011.] Is that an ‘Entitlement program, Mitch; Nah, I didn’t think so. Explain to me Mitch , why my pension that vests after 46 years of bi-weekly payments is an ‘Entitlement’ program and yours that vests after 5 years at pays benefits 45 % more than mine ,is not an ‘entitlement’ program and your state that bloated must be slashed.

President Obama has vowed that he won’t negotiate with GOP on the debt ceiling. The 14th Amendment has been postulated as giving him the authority to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling due to a provision that states, the validity of government debt shall not be questioned. But the White House has so far ruled it out. One Senate Democratic aide said other legal options were being explored.
The concept of minting a platinum coin to be deposited into the Treasury to pay prior debts has been mentioned and the authority to create that coin can derive from an Executive Order. Again the GOP is lying about the debt ceiling by naming it as reining in government spending and demanding spending cuts to other programs to offset the spending that that vow will occur after ‘they’ raise the debt ceiling’ THAT’S THE BIG LIE. The ‘spending authority that raising the debt ceiling will authorize is the debt service and interest on money the CONGRESS has already spent! Remember all that money that ole 43 borrowed to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with and his giveaway tax cuts to multinational corporations and the wealthiest Americans really added up. CBO has published their estimated ‘True Cost’ of the war for Iraqi Oil at $10 TRILLION dollars; , the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a report[ 7/29/11] showing that over a decade, his tax cuts cost the government in foregone tax revenue $1.8 TRILLION dollars also showing that the costs of extending those tax cuts to the upper income tax payers roughly equals the current Social Security shortfall.

Jan 11, 2013 11:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sandman839 wrote:

I love it when the right complains because there are ways to make it so when they wont compromise the President can go around them. The Greedy Old Party needs to remember that they lost seats in both the house and the senate. Even the loony red states were close. Simple fact is that the only place the Greedy Old Party wants to cut is in the small parts of the budget. They don’t want to touch the biggest part of the budget.

Jan 11, 2013 11:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
m1234567890 wrote:

So, someone please tell me, why is concept of the Federal government reigning in its spending so very abhorrent?

The President ran on a platform of Tax increases on those who could afford it and “responsible” spending cuts.

Thus far, he’s raised taxes on literally everyone who collects a paycheck.

Given that, I really don’t see why he should not come through with the second part of his plan and reduce spending. Especially, considering the fact that, if we don’t reduce spending, we will go bankrupt.

Jan 11, 2013 11:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MS2015 wrote:

For all those of you that think that Obama has the authority to unilaterally raise the debt limit, please enjoy section 5 of the 14th amendment.

“The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

Jan 11, 2013 11:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
justinolcb wrote:

@MS2015 whoooppp dare it izzzzz ;)

Jan 12, 2013 2:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:

justinolcb doesn’t understand the constitution. An amazing number of Republicans don’t…

The power of enforcement is remedial, not substantive.

Jan 12, 2013 4:55am EST  --  Report as abuse
kafantaris wrote:

A fair fight, yes, but nobody gets bypassed, circumvented or nullified.
That’s not how to run the government.
Nor can we run it long with arm-twisting, expediency and gimmicks.
Governing is hard work and we’ll just have to work through it. There are no easy roads to governing, just as there are no easy roads to learning.
And for the same reason: Governing requires effort — not only to understand what needs to be done — but also effort to understand the other side.

Jan 12, 2013 10:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

MS2015…the key words to the statement you posted are “by appropriate legislation”. The debt (whatever the level is) is simply a function of the spending bills that Congress wrote, passed and the President signed into law. To INTENTIONALLY default on the debt would do grievous harm to our country. Whether the president uses the 14th Amendment (there’s much more to it than the 1 sentence you posted) or Article II it doesn’t matter. The President CAN NOT allow this to happen. Every one knows that spending is out of control by this government. The responsible thing to do is for Congress to work together (Republicans within the House) and the Senate and write legislation that addresses the spending issue in an orderly fashion. Again..the key word is legislation. NOT non-stop news conferences that are nothing more than a dog and pony show. If Executive Order is the only way out of this debacle..then so be it.
Simply based on the fact that Congress authorized the spending that is causing the total debt to rise implies that they have already approved ANY level that the total debt rises to. That’s how I see the SC interpreting this issue should Obama use Executive Order and the Republicans or anyone else challenging that action.

Jan 12, 2013 11:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:

m1234567890..the President does not have the authority to cut spending on his own. Take a course in government. That way your comments won’t make you look uneducated.

Jan 12, 2013 11:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
Eric.Klein wrote:

Congress created this mess and wants to blame Obama for their failure to pay for what they have ALREADY spent. This is not a case of finding money to pay for new things but for what Congress already approved and spent in the past.

Between a Congress that can not clean up its own mess and multiple wars that were not paid for the Republican party is trying to avoid splitting itself apart at the expense of the rest of the US and the world.

Jan 12, 2013 12:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse wrote:

So now we are run by a dictator? If Washington was not filled with idiots you would compromise! Oh well keep putting the wood to us taxpayers. You get rich even while not doing your job!

Jan 12, 2013 5:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TexiCat wrote:

I agree that spending cuts should be part of the debt ceiling talks, but leave Social Security and Medicare alone! Those are NOT government programs that are solely paid for by the government but funded by every working American. Those contributions are taken out of our paychecks without us having any say in it. We don’t want those two vital programs messed with. How about some spending cuts in programs that are purely government funded, such as Welfare for people who receive benefits without ever having worked a day in their lives? How about reducing the outrageous retirement pay and benefits packages for politicians? None of us Average Joes get lifetime pay and medical after we leave a job! Quit sticking it to hard working Americans and do something about the problem with illegal aliens and generations of welfare recipients. Welfare is not a career, it’s supposed to be a hand up for people who have fallen on hard times. THAT is where real cuts need to be made.

Jan 12, 2013 7:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
RealFedUp wrote:

How can he do this??

Jan 12, 2013 8:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
PatrickT wrote:

“Obama has vowed not to negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling.” Like he negotiates with them on anything else? Obama is a dictator, and his sheep like it that way.

Jan 12, 2013 11:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Cyberblunt wrote:

It’s dumb not to negotiate on the debt ceiling. It is long overdue that we need to control spending. The Dems are on the wrong for not wanting to negotiate. Whatever the Rep did during the bush years can’t be used as an excuse anymore. I say if no negotiating than no money for the Gov. That is how it works in the real world when you’re broke. And the Dems are proving themselves just as crazy as the Reps. Letting the president go around congress is anarchy, its damn crazy! Damn I wish Ron Paul won president, these damn dumb arguments would never have come up.

Jan 13, 2013 10:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kuji wrote:

“USAPragmatist wrote:

If congress is going to vote to pay THEIR OWN bills, someone has to act like an adult and pay the bills.”

We’ll there’s the catch – Obama has the Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws of Congress. On one hand, he has the obligation to spend the money appropriated (spent) by Congress. He also has the obligation to not spend Congress’s appropriation past the debt limit. So the GOP put him in a lose-lose situation because Congress in the past has routinely raised the debt ceiling to match their appropriated and discretionary spending. So really the debt ceiling was meant to keep Congress in check by Congress, not the President’s alleged “out of control spending” since he does not control the purse strings of government. So really what are Obama’s options to pay the money that is already spent by Congress?

1) He can unilaterally raise taxes to cover spending(very unconstitutional and usurps Congress’s powers)
2) He can unilaterally cut spending to match the deficit (very unconstitutional and usurps Congress’s powers)
3) A combination of both (very unconstitutional and usurps Congress’s)
3) He can do what Congress wants to do and not pay the bills (this again is not constitutional as Congress and the President have a legal obligation to uphold the law (appropriations bill) so this is clearly not an option)
4) Ignore the debt ceiling (not Constitutional but least unconstitutional)
5) The stupid coin loop hole (already said his administration would not go this route)

So he will be forced with Option 4 with Democrats backing him in the House to minimize what the GOP can do to crucify a man they put in a precarious position. But Congress should obviously get rid of the debt ceiling since it’s a law that doesn’t really do much since Congress should control spending if it feels its too high, not make an arbitrary ceiling they’ve never really cared about by except recently when it’s politically convenient to damage this president.

Jan 14, 2013 9:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
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