President Joe Biden said on Sunday he would consider using the 14th Amendment to solve the US debt ceiling, but admitted it was probably too close to the June 1 default deadline to use it in this round.
“I’m looking at the 14th Amendment to find out whether or not we have the authority,” he told a news conference in Hiroshima.
“I think we have the authority. The question is, could it be done and invoked in time so that it would not be appealed and therefore miss the date in question and still default on the debt?
Biden said he would be willing to explore the option in court to see if they would rule it legal or not.
The president previously ruled out using the constitutional amendment — which some legal scholars say contains a clause that would make it unconstitutional for the United States to default on its debt — to raise the debt ceiling.
Biden also accused Republicans of trying to derail debt talks to hurt his re-election bid, admitted he may be able to stop them from defaulting, and said he would step in to deal with with Chairman Kevin McCarthe one-on-one. A.
President Joe Biden has opened the door to using the 14th Amendment to solve the debt crisis
How the 14th Amendment applies to US debt
Many jurists suggest that a clause in the 14th Amendment stating that “the validity of the public debt, authorized by law … shall not be questioned” could apply to the debt ceiling.
Legal experts argue that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment allows the Treasury Department to continue to borrow money beyond the debt limit and that it would be unconstitutional for the United States not to borrow. payments.
Some Democrats are urging Biden to invoke the constitutional amendment to prevent the country from defaulting.
During his press conference, Biden had a harsh speech for Republicans, criticizing them for taking an ‘extreme stance’ in the talks and said he would speak to McCarthy from Air Force One as he returned from Japan.
“I guess he’s going to want to deal directly with me to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Biden said of McCarthy, adding that he believed a compromise remained within reach.
“I hope President McCarthy is just waiting to negotiate with me when I get home. … I’m waiting to find out.
The White House had accused House Republicans of backtracking the talks by refusing their offer to cut spending and instead making what Democrats call outrageous demands to cut the federal budget.
Biden, who has announced he is seeking a second term, has indicated he believes politics is at stake.
He said if the nation defaults, “Biden would take responsibility and that’s one way to make sure Biden doesn’t get re-elected.”
He called on the Republicans to compromise.
“It’s time for Republicans to accept that there is no bipartisan deal to be made solely – solely – on their behalf and on their terms. They also have to move,” he said.
He also expressed some exasperation with the other party, saying he couldn’t “guarantee that they would enforce a default by doing something outrageous.”
Previous debt talks took a downward turn as the White House accused Republicans of taking a ‘big step backwards’ by rejecting their offer and McCarthy said talks were on hold until the return of Biden of Japan.
Both sides have accused the other of negotiating in bad faith as time is running out towards the June 1 deadline to raise the country’s borrowing limit, now at $31 trillion, so the United States can pay their bills. Otherwise, he will default on his debt.
A war of words began over the weekend as meetings between the two negotiating teams were cancelled, rescheduled, only to be canceled again.
On Saturday, McCarthy said it was the White House that was holding on and talks were on hold until Biden returned.
“Unfortunately, the White House backed down,” McCarthy told reporters Saturday on Capitol Hill. “I don’t think we can move forward until the president can come back.”
“From the last day until today, they have gone backwards. They actually want to spend more money than we’re spending this year,” McCarthy said of the talks.
The White House, which had sounded hopeful that a deal was in the works, issued a pessimistic statement accusing Republicans of backing down and preferring a default over a deal.
“The president’s team put an offer on the table that was a big step backwards and contained a set of extreme partisan demands that could never pass through both houses of Congress,” the press secretary said. White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, in the press release.
“It is only a Republican leadership beholden to its MAGA wing – not the President or the Democratic leadership – that threatens to default our nation for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met” , she said.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon attend Biden’s press conference
President Biden has accused Republicans of trying to derail debt talks to hurt his re-election bid
Republicans rejected a bid from the Biden administration that would have kept discretionary non-defense and defense spending flat next year from fiscal year 2023, according to reports.
McCarthy said he wanted to cut non-defense spending from what had been spent in previous years.
Democrats argue that keeping those numbers flat equates to an effective reduction due to inflation, at a rate of up to 5%.
The White House argued that with inflation, this would equate to a 5% cut in spending.
President Biden appointed a negotiating team and spoke with them regularly while in Japan. The White House said earlier Sunday that those negotiators were ready to meet with McCarthy’s team at any time.
“Let’s be clear: the president’s team is ready to meet at any time,” Jean-Pierre said in his statement.
The two sides are vying for spending cuts. The Republicans are demanding them in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
House Republicans have passed a bill that would bring spending back to fiscal year 2022 levels and impose a 1% cap on future spending for a decade. But he was dead when he arrived in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The White House dismissed the GOP demands as too extreme, but expressed a willingness to cut some spending.
But as the talks break down, the attacks have intensified.
“Republicans are holding the economy hostage and pushing us to the brink of default, which could cost millions of jobs and tip the country into recession after two years of steady job and wage growth” , White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt said Saturday. .
Biden said he would call President Kevin McCarthy from Air Force One on his return trip from Japan
“It was a bad day for negotiations,” said Republican Representative Dusty Johnson, an ally of McCarthy. Axiosadding that a “lack of seriousness” from the White House “undermined the progress we made on Wednesday and Thursday.”
With Republicans holding just a five-seat majority in the House and Democrats controlling the Senate, any deal must be bipartisan.
To achieve this, spending cuts must be large enough to be accepted by conservative Republicans but also acceptable to Democrats, who hold the Senate and will likely need to deliver between 50 and 100 votes in the House.
Republicans, in addition to spending cuts, want to increase defense spending in the 2024 federal budget.
Democrats argue that for this to happen, social programs, education and health care would have borne the brunt of the cuts. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party would not support that.
Additionally, Republicans have refused to roll back Trump-era tax breaks for corporations and wealthy households, as Biden has proposed.