Debt Ceiling Debate: Republican States Dispute Biden's 14th Amendment Solution

Debt Ceiling Debate: Republican States Dispute Biden’s 14th Amendment Solution

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Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has joined a 19-state coalition of attorneys general in urging the Biden administration not to use the 14th Amendment to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

In a letter to President Joe Biden dated Wednesday, the coalition argued the Constitution does not give presidents the power on their own to increase U.S. debt.

“The power of the purse constitutes Congress’s strongest defense against a lawless executive,” the letter states. “By giving credence to the idea that a president can unilaterally authorize new debt for the United States, you undermine the checks and balances that have defined the rule of law for over 200 years.”  

Democrat Biden and Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and their staffs have been attempting to reach a negotiated settlement for Congress to raise the debt limit in exchange for spending cuts. If they can’t resolve their differences soon, the nation will go into default early next month, which economists have warned could touch off a recession.

The president has said he is considering turning to the 14th Amendment as a way out of the impasse but is reluctant to do so. Supporters of using the 14th Amendment cite the following provision in the amendment:

“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.”

Carr said that doesn’t mean the president can bypass Congress on the debt ceiling.

“President Biden does not have the authority to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval, and any assertion otherwise is dangerous and blatantly false,” Carr said. “The president should instead focus on negotiating in good faith with Congress on a realistic solution and address the record-high inflation that is harming families across this nation.”

In addition to Carr, a Republican, the GOP attorneys general of the following states also signed the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

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