Bernie Sanders: The 14th Amendment

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From the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders -- The 14th Amendment:

Senator Bernie Sanders spoke during a rare Saturday session. He made case for President Obama lifting the debt ceiling on his own by invoking a provision of the 14th Amendment. "The Constitution is very clear in saying that the debts of the United States ‘shall not be questioned,' Sanders said. "The president swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and many constitutional scholars believe that the 14th Amendment gives the president the authority and responsibility to pay our debts regardless of the dysfunction in Congress. I think that's just what he should do if he is left with no other way to protect the full faith and credit of the United States." The idea is backed by leading legal scholars and by President Bill Clinton. He said that if he were still in the White House, he would use the amendment and "force the courts to stop me."

And from the Burlington Free Press -- Sanders calls on Obama to lift the debt ceiling with 14th Amendment:

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is calling on President Barack Obama to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th Amendment.

Section 4 of the amendment states that, “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.”

Sanders, an independent, isn’t fazed by the possibility that using the amendment to bypass Congress on the debt limit could lead to an impeachment vote. He says Americans would thank Obama for dealing with the crisis.

“I suppose if you use the 14th Amendment and Republicans try to impeach him, that’s their right,” he said. “But I would suspect that the average American would say, ‘Given the options, thank you, Mr. President, for making sure that I at least get my Social Security check, that our soldiers get paid, that Medicare continues to function and that interest rates do not go way up.’”

Current law requires congressional approval for raising the debt limit. But former President Bill Clinton has said that if he were still in the White House, he would use the amendment and “force the courts to stop me.”

“I think the Constitution is clear, and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for (expenditures) it has appropriated is crazy,” Clinton said in a July 18 interview with The National Memo.

But Obama has said he does not believe invoking the amendment is a viable option. “I have talked to my lawyers,” he said on July 22. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

Sanders said other options for action on the debt limit are “dismal.” He blamed “right-wing extremism” among House Republicans and their “refusal to look at anything that resembles a fair and sensible and balanced approach.”


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