Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clinton: I'd Use the Constitution to Raise Debt Limit

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are hammering out terms over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline in order to avoid default.
Former President Bill Clinton says Obama should just avoid all the political wrangling by resorting to a Constitutional item in the 14th Amendment and raise it unilaterally.
Congress must give the executive branch the green light to lift its borrowing ceiling, but under the Fourteenth Amendment, "the validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned," which some say gives the President the power to act on his own.
While Obama continues to go back and forth with political opponents, Clinton says that he would invoke that option to raise the ceiling "without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me," The National Memo reports.
"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."
Clinton and Republicans battled spending issues themselves in the 1990s, which ended up in a temporary closure of the government.
They resolved their differences and today, both parties will probably do likewise anyway, Clinton says.
"It looks to me like they’re going to make an agreement, and that’s smart."
Moody's Investors Service has said the U.S. could lose its AAA rating if it fails to lift the ceiling and default on its debts, adding that even though Republicans and Democrats have raised the ceiling in the past, things look different this time.
"The currently wide division between the House of Representatives and the Obama administration over the debt limit creates a higher level of uncertainty and causes us to raise our assessment of event risk," the agency says in a report, according to CNNMoney.

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