(StraightNews.org) — A court in Boston will hear arguments on whether President Biden can use the 14th Amendment to ignore debt limit legislation. The lawsuit was filed by a federal workers union, which argues that the President does not have to seek the approval of Congress to raise the nation’s debt ceiling because the 14th Amendment allows him to do so unilaterally.
The union argues that the 14th Amendment’s declaration that the nation’s debt “shall not be questioned” is sufficient for the White House to act. Legal experts are divided on whether this is an accurate reading of the Amendment.
Garrett Epps, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oregon, said the section was written to avoid bipartisan bickering. Epps believes the President should use the legislation to end the current deadlock.
Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew takes the opposite view. He said the Amendment was never intended to give unilateral power to the President. He added that it would be a risky move for Biden and could result in a constitutional crisis.
No other government has ever used the 14th Amendment for this purpose.
Republicans and Democrats are locked in a stand-off that, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, must be resolved by June 1st. She warned legislators that if the stand-off does not end by this time, a US debt default would result. This could startle world markets and provoke a global financial crisis. It would also send the US into recession and seriously damage America’s standing on the world stage.
The debt ceiling refers to a fixed amount the government can borrow. It is currently $31.4 trillion. The White House wants to increase this ceiling but needs Republican support in Congress. The GOP will only give its backing to the increase if the government will agree to future spending cuts. The Biden administration has refused to commit to this. Some Democrats are now urging Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment to end the crisis.
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