Clyburn: Debt Ceiling Another “Emancipation Proclamation”
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, who once defended the constitutionality of Obamacare by saying “there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do,” is once again urging Barack Obama to overstep his bounds.
That’s what Charlie Murphy might call a “habitual line stepper,” people.
Specifically, Clyburn is advocating that Obama unilaterally raise the nation’s debt ceiling on August 2 in the event that the U.S. Congress fails to do so.
How does Clyburn propose that Obama do that? By invoking a disputed clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states that government debt “shall not be questioned.”
“I’ve said time and time again, if the President gets up to August 2nd without a piece of legislation, uh, he should not allow this country to go into default,” Clyburn said. “He should sign an executive drder invoking the Fourteenth Amendment and send that, uh, to all the governmental agencies for us to continue to pay our bills.”
Another South Carolina Congressman, U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, has already spoken out against such a move – saying that Obama should be impeached in the event he attempts to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.
“That is an impeachable act from my perspective,” Scott said earlier this month.
In addition to the fiscal recklessness of raising the debt ceiling without spending and budgetary concessions, Scott and other fiscal conservatives have noted that the fourteenth amendment gives Congress the exclusive authority to enforce its provisions.
“I’ve joked with my staff … ‘tell me what was the bill number of the Emancipation Proclamation,’” he said. “It was an executive order. We integrated the Armed Services by executive order. We integrated public schools by executive order. Sometimes executives must order that things get done.”
After three consecutive years of running up $1 trillion deficits, the federal government reached its $14. 3 trillion debt limit on May 16 – although the U.S. Treasury has been using creative accounting measures to push the deadline for additional borrowing authorization to August 2.
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.
Last week, the House voted 234-190 to pass a debt ceiling increase tied to $111 billion in immediate cuts, a cap on future growth and a balanced budget amendment – but that plan (dubbed “cut cap and balance“) was rejected by the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
Obama – who once vigorously opposed raising the debt ceiling as a U.S. Senator – has warned of a “second recession” in the event a debt deal is not reached. However, despite his extensive fear-mongering on the issue he has yet to produce a single spending cut in exchange for the new borrowing authority.
America has been upping its credit limit at an alarming rate in recent years. In fact, Republicans and Democrats have approved a combined $8.75 trillion worth of new debt authorization over the last decade. Of that total, $3.4 trillion was approved by 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.
As we said last week, “obviously the ‘buck’ for all that spending is going to stop somewhere, sometime … it’s just a question of how big a train wreck we’re going to have to deal with when it does.”