In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, immediately after the House approved the so called “fiscal cliff” bill, the president announced that he will no longer deal with Congress over debt ceiling issues.
“One last point I want to make,” said the president. “I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills, they have already racked up through the laws they have passed.”
In my opinion the president’s meaning was clear. From this point forward, he plans to raise the debt ceiling at will and under his own authority.
Section 4. 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.
In that column, I said that invoking the 14th Amendment’s provisions would be risky for the president and highly unlikely.
“Although it may be constitutional to invoke the 14th Amendment,” I wrote, “it would also be something of a nuclear option. Every member of Congress from both parties would raise the alarm, and the general populace’s revolt would make the tea party protests of a few years ago seem like a meeting of the Ladies Quilting Society.”
Indeed, early in the “fiscal cliff” talks the president wanted Congress to grant him unfettered authority to raise the debt ceiling when and as he saw fit. Congress wasn’t buying it.
When I considered it unlikely that Obama would invoke what I call “the nuclear option,” I didn’t consider the man.
The belligerence of the president’s words were especially jarring and troubling — “I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills, they have already racked up through the laws they have passed.” It was never the intent of Republican — and many Democratic — lawmakers to “rack up” excessive debt.
On the contrary, the president hasn’t submitted a single budget to Congress that the Democratic-controlled Senate could even put up for a vote. In these last “fiscal cliff” negotiations, the president refused to consider any budget cuts that amounted to anything.
If these debts belong to anyone, they belong to the president himself.
Read more at Human Events.
Here’s a video of the president’s remarks: