President pressured to invoke 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling if deal isn’t reached

Eleven Senators sent the President a letter
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 10:49 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senate Democrats are now urging President Joe Biden to invoke the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling if he can’t strike a deal with Republicans.

A total of eleven Senators signed the letter that was sent to the White House. They’re urging the President to act before a catastrophic default, which the U.S. Treasury has warned could happen by June 1.

“I think it’s the best solution that we have. It’s not perfect,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who admitted it’s unprecedented to ask the President to invoke the constitution to raise the debt ceiling. However, he said a default would be worse.

“If the right wing republicans force a default, it will mean the loss of millions of American jobs interest rates on mortgage rates and credit cards will soar and Americans will lose trillions of dollars in household wealth,” he said.

The Senators believe the 14th amendment gives the President the right to raise the debt ceiling because it specifically says United States public debt “shall not be questioned.”

Negotiations between the President & top GOP leaders have progressed but have not yet produced a deal. Republicans insist the nation must implement government spending cuts before they will raise the debt ceiling. House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act to boost the debt limit by $1.5 trillion dollars while cutting domestic programs. Democrats argue, the spending cuts the GOP is proposing will devastate programs that help American families.

“This is a hostage taking and it is unacceptable to have the President in a position where Kevin McCarthy says you either savage programs for ordinary Americans and flood the country with fossil fuels or I’m going to run the economy off the cliff,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

On Wednesday, the President said “we’re going to come together because there’s no alternative to do the right thing for the country. We have to move on. And to be clear, just negotiation is about the outlines of the budget, not about whether it’s fair debts. Leaders all agree, we will not default. Every leader has said that.”

On Thursday, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy added, “we haven’t agreed to anything yet. But, I see the path that we could come to an agreement. And, I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard and I mean, we’re working two or three times a day then going back, getting more numbers.”

Only the House is scheduled to be in session next week. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has warned his colleagues if a deal is reached they’ll have hours to return to Capitol Hill for a vote.

The U.S. Treasury states that Congress has “always acted when called upon to raise the debt limit. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. Congressional leaders in both parties have recognized that this is necessary.”