The Democrat party is getting outsmarted and outflanked by the House Republicans in the ongoing standoff over debt ceiling negotiations. Only House Republicans have passed legislation lifting the debt ceiling thus far, while the White House and House or Senate Democrats have done nothing to move the debate forward. Even NBC News is running scaremongering stories and cautioning the White House about the dangers of blindly entering negotiations without offering a solid, actionable plan.
Biden must drop ‘absolutist’ position in debt ceiling talks with McCarthy, think tanks warn https://t.co/yag7gWYTvc
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 8, 2023
Rather than negotiate or legislate better, Joe Biden is looking to the Fourteenth Amendment as his Hail Mary solution to solve the debt crisis. The White House believes the Amendment can be used to nullify the debt ceiling, enabling the executive branch to keep issuing debt despite Congress’ control over such matters. This reading of the Fourteenth Amendment is untested, unproven and, more importantly, has already been tried and rejected by the Obama administration.
Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment was written after the Civil War to establish which debt the US would take on after the war. The US declared that the Union would honor all its obligations and promises but would not take on any debts held by the Confederacy. This settled the issue of which debts the US government can take on.
The Fourteenth Amendment Hail Mary is not a serious response to the current crisis. Biden needs to work with the Democratic-led Senate to pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling instead of making untested legal claims. It is crucial that the White House gets a solution soon, or it could be blamed for a government shutdown. Right now, it seems as if Biden is stepping on more and more rakes.