Democratic Leaders Suggest Undemocratic Measures to Raise Debt Limit
Do Democratic lawmakers have undemocratic instincts? Perish the thought!
Mother Jones is reporting that top House Democrats are continuing to suggest that President Obama should turn to autocratic rule if there is no agreement between the House and Senate on the debt limit. They suggest that Democrats should interpret the 14th Amendment as permitting the President to automatically raise the $14.3 debt ceiling. In polite circles, this is known as the "nuclear option."
Mother Jones' Andy Kroll advocated the nuclear option in a blog post on Wednesday afternoon:
Rep. Jim Clybourn (D-SC), the assistant house minority leader, and Rep. John Larson (D-Ct.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, both held up the 14th Amendment—which commands that "[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned"—as a "fail-safe mechanism" to prevent catastrophe from failing to increase the government's borrowing limit by Aug. 2.
Here's Larson and Clybourn, via ThinkProgress:
LARSON: If a small group is really that intent on destroying government, and is intent on saying they don’t believe there are any ramifications for their irresponsibility then we have to have a fail-safe mechanism, we believe that fail safe mechanism is the 14th amendment and the president of the United States.
CLYBURN: So I would say to the president, if that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term listing of the debt ceiling—he should put it on his desk next to an executive order he will have drawn up. And with the same pen that he vetoes that short term debt ceiling extension, he should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue. I am convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of this issue can continue.
So far President Obama has rejected this awful advice. If the White House was to implement extra-constitutional measures, it would trigger a national uproar that would haunt the remainder of the Obama Presidency.
On the other hand, after watching Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) ram through the 2,000-page Obamacare health bill last year you can understand their natural instincts to seek extra-constitutional measures.