Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 3, 2013

Fiscal cliff averted but debt ceiling looms

(Continued)

FRANKFORT —

“At the end of the day, the business community is pragmatic and business people want to see results,” Adkisson said.

But in his Thursday op-ed, McConnell said Congress “cannot simply increase the nation’s borrowing limit without committing to long overdue reforms to spending programs.”

Obama may not want to negotiate the debt ceiling, McConnell said, “but it’s a fight he is going to have.”

McConnell isn’t alone. Prominent Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, have said in the wake of the tax agreement that they intend to hold the debt ceiling hostage to spending cuts.

Obama hasn’t said how he plans to continue government operations if he can’t secure Congressional approval to raise the debt limit, but some argue Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives him authority to continue issuing government bonds.

The first sentence of Section 4 reads: “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.”

Legal scholars disagree on whether the president can invoke that section to unilaterally increase the debt or if such action would be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yarmuth said Obama has previously said he doesn’t want to invoke the amendment and that Vice President Joe Biden this week told House Democrats Obama hasn’t changed his stance.

“But I think that has to be part of a fallback position if Republicans try to use the debt ceiling as leverage,” Yarmuth added.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

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