More liberal Democrats are calling for the President to rule like a dictator on the debt ceiling.
On Thursday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) gave President Obama the green light to bypass Congress and unilaterally rule on the debt ceiling invoking the 14th Amendment.
“It’s arguably his power to do so,” Hoyer said, according to a report at The Hill.
“Very frankly, if it came down to his looking default in the eye on Tuesday or taking this action, as President Clinton said, better to take the action and find out later that perhaps he went beyond his authority but at least protected the credibility of the United States of America,” he added.
A number of Democrats, including Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, have called on the President to commit what Rep. Tim Scott called an “impeachable act” – that is, usurping the Congress to rule on fiscal policy.
James Clyburn (D-SC) and John Larson (D-CT), Chair of the Democratic Caucus, have also said the President should use the 14th Amendment to effectively rule on the debt like a dictator.
“The Republicans, through their failure, have given you license to do whatever it takes to not let the American family go down into [the] abyss,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday.
On Friday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) added his voice to those calling for Obama to don the mantle of dictator on the debt ceiling.
According to The Hill:
“Is there anything that prohibits him from doing that? The answer is no,” Harkin said. The White House has been going about the idea the wrong way by asking whether the amendment legally gives the president the power to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional authority, according to Harkin.
Harkin, attacking the Tea Party as “nuts,” told liberal talk show host Bill Press the country would applaud a President for taking dictatorial action to get things done:
“I think the American people would stand up and applaud a president who had the guts and the courage to stand up and make sure the political battles don’t tear this country apart,” he said. “I think the Tea Party will probably go nuts, but what the heck, they’re already nuts anyway.”
Harkin also claimed that a number of moderate Republicans would probably “silently applaud” Obama for acting unilaterally on the debt.
As The Hill notes, the President has rejected that advise, saying that his lawyers “…are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”
The President’s choice of words in this statement is telling – he did not say the option was unconstitutional or illegal – he said it was not a “winning argument,” indicating possible concern that he might face impeachment if he takes that route.
The Hill reports:
Many observers of the debt-limit debate have said the 14th Amendment — which states that the “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned” — empowers the president to raise the debt ceiling without congressional input.
The push to raise the debt limit hit a brick wall on Thursday when House GOP leaders failed to rally the 216 votes required to pass their version of the bill, which also slashes deficit spending by more than $900 billion over the next decade.
Mediaite reported on Thursday that GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said that President Obama would be ruling like a dictator if he uses the 14th Amendment option:
“Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes,” Bachmann said. “It’s Congress that does the spending. The President is prohibited to do that. If he had the power to do that he would effectively be a dictator.”
As conservative talk show host Mark Levin said, if the President decides to “destroy the Separation of Powers doctrine,” by seizing Congressional authority “despite the plain wording of Article 1 Section 8 Clause 2,” he should be impeached for violating his oath of office.
Democrats who think the President should act like a dictator on this or any other issue should also be removed from office at the earliest possible opportunity.
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