U.S. Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) says that Barack Obama should be impeached if he oversteps his authority and unilaterally raises the nation’s debt limit.
At a meeting of Tea Party members at the Knightsville United Methodist Church in Dorchester County earlier this week, Scott said that any attempt by Obama to raise the debt limit without congressional approval would be an “impeachable” offense.
“This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us,” Scott said, according to The Summerville Patch. “My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective.”
Scott’s comments were reportedly greeted by thunderous applause.
“There are a lot of things people say, ‘Are you going to impeach the president over that?’ — No. But this? This is catastrophic,” Scott continued. “This jeopardizes the credibility of our nation if one man can usurp the entire system set up by our founding fathers over something this significant.”
Some are arguing that Obama – under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – has the authority to raise the debt ceiling of his own volition. While one section of that amendment stipulates that America’s public debt “shall not be questioned” – the following section clearly delegates to the U.S. Congress the “power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
Fiscal liberals of both parties are wringing their hands over the debt ceiling debate – evidently forgetting the unprecedented avalanche of unsustainable spending that has led the country into this crisis.
After three consecutive years of running up $1 trillion deficits, the federal government reached its $14. 3 trillion debt limit on May 16. The U.S. Treasury has been using creative accounting measures to push the deadline for additional borrowing authorization to August 2 – giving leaders three more weeks to work out a deal. A month ago, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly against raising the limit from $14.2 trillion to $16.7 trillion. Eighty-two Democrats joined 236 Republicans in rejecting the measure – while 97 Democrats voted to raise the debt limit.
Republicans have sought to use the debt ceiling debate to exact spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment, while Obama has been pushing a variety of new taxes and limited cuts.
Obama and his administration have repeatedly warned that failing to raise the debt limit would have “Armageddon-like” consequences on the U.S. economy. Last week, Obama’s office warned that the country was approaching the “danger zone” on the debt limit.
In Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Obama said that failure to raise the limit could spark a “second recession, or worse.”
“The Treasury will run out of money,” Obama said. “Potentially the entire world capital markets could decide, you know what, the full faith and credit of the United States doesn’t mean anything. And so our credit could be downgraded, interest rates could go drastically up, and it could cause a whole new spiral into a second recession, or worse.”
U.S. Treasure Secretary Timothy Geither has been among the most aggressive proponents of using the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt.
“This is the important thing – (the debt) ‘shall not be questioned,’” Geithner said last May, brandishing a copy of the Constitution.
The only problem with that aggressive posturing? Obama has been every bit as aggressive in opposing debt hikes in the past.
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally,” then-Senator Obama said in March of 2006. “Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.”
Republicans and Democrats have approved a combined $8.75 trillion worth of debt ceiling increases over the last decade. Of that total, $3.4 trillion was approved by George W. Bush and “GOP”-controlled Congresses. Another $2.35 trillion was approved by Bush and a Democratic-controlled Congress, while $3 trillion was approved by Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress.