Bill Clinton has an easy answer for the current debt stalemate: If push comes to shove, President Obama should just raise the ceiling on his own and force Republicans to sue to stop him.
“I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether they pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy,” the former president said in an interview with the National Memo.
Clinton said he’d used the so-called constitutional option that relies on a clause in the 14th Amendment that some have interpreted to mean the president can take all necessary steps to maintain the good credit of the United States. The former president said he’d do so “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.”
Still, Clinton said that he thinks that ultimately lawmakers will work out their own debt deal and Obama won’t be forced to press his luck in the courts. “It looks to me like they’re going to make an agreement, and that’s smart,” Clinton said.
Obama has so far avoided answering direct questions about whether he’d employ the constitutional option, but a lawyer for the Treasury Department has refuted the interpretation that it allows a president to raise the debt ceiling without lawmakers' approval, Politico reports.
Meanwhile, the House is set to vote Tuesday evening on the Republican’s so-called “Cut, Cap and Balance” debt proposal. The bill would tie a $2.4 trillion debt-ceiling increase to large-scale spending cuts and a balanced-budget Constitutional amendment.
Obama has promised to veto the bill if it were to reach his desk, although it appears highly unlikely that the legislation would survive a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.