July 29, 2011. Washington. Contrary to the predictions of virtually all economic experts and political pundits, the United States finds itself on the brink of financial collapse. With a sense that global markets and US borrowers won’t wait until the doomsday deadline Tuesday, Congressional leaders and the President are scrambling to find a compromise.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) withdrew his compromise proposal last night when it was apparent that the Tea Party wing of his own party wouldn’t sign on. The sizable GOP block rebelled against their Speaker and is holding out for either ‘no increase in the debt ceiling’ or in some cases, ‘a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution’ in exchange for a vote to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a national financial default.
On top of already dire news this morning that the growth of America’s GDP last quarter wasn’t the depressing 1.8 percent previously reported, Congressional leaders have finally arrived at crisis mode. The new revised Gross Domestic Product number released this morning for Q2 is a paltry 0.4 percent.
With the talk show subjects switching from ‘what would a compromise look like’ to ‘what happens when the country defaults’, it’s becoming apparent that more and more people are preparing for the worst. Beginning this morning, news reports and economic experts have begun citing “Section 4 of the fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution” as the country’s last hope to avoid financial catastrophe.
Here is the exact wording of the 14th Amendment:
“4. 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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”
According to the US Constitution, Congress is bound by its oath to not only God, but to the American people, to not default. But who is supposed to enforce that and how would it be enforced?
According to an article by Whiteout Press today, the answer is in Section 5 of the 14th Amendment:
“5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
With that said, the responsibility to carry out their Constitutional obligation falls to Congress. But what happens if Congress fails to uphold and carry out its sworn Constitutional duties? That answer is as basic as the Constitution itself. While the Legislative branch makes the nation’s laws, the Executive branch is charged with enforcing them.
If one looks to previous, recent examples of the same Constitutional crisis on the state level, the answer wasn’t pretty. It was divisive and brutal. In more than one instance, when the State House and Senate refused to uphold their state Constitutional duties and even fled to neighboring states, the Governor has issued arrest warrants to have the state legislature returned to the state capital until they completed the people’s business.
But could the President of the United States order the arrest of Congress? According to state precedents, it is quite possible.