Former Democratic President Bill Clinton has come out swinging at Congress, telling The National Memo’s Joe Conason that he would take decisive action if no debt deal is reached by the August 2 deadline. Clinton says that if he were in Obama’s situation, he‘d invoke the Fourteenth Amendment to raise America’s debt ceiling “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.”
Clinton, who came out strongly against Republicans in an exclusive interview with The National Memo on Monday, said:
“I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.
[Raising the ceiling] is necessary to pay for appropriations already made…so you can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”
Clinton faced his own debt battles as president during two government shut downs. Back then, though, he didn’t consider utilizing the Fourteenth Amendment, because the debt ceiling was not brought in as part of the overall debate. The National Memo has more:
Fourteenth Amendment Text – No where does the word President” come up dealing with the Debt of the United States. The word “Congress” is in that section:
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.