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tioned.” It’s absurd to pretend that this provision somehow authorizes the president to arrogate to himself the fiscal powers of Congress if the debt limit isn’t raised or — more to the point — isn’t raised in a manner to his liking.
The House isn’t saying that the debt ceiling shouldn’t be extended, only that it should happen with accompanying spending reductions that make it more likely that our debts will be honored in the future. Even if the debt limit is breached, it doesn’t mean our debts will be written off. Under a 2011 Treasury contingency plan, other payments would have been delayed. This makes the 14th Amendment argument even more attenuated.
The Biden administration could save itself the trouble of trying to twist the Constitution to suit its narrow political purposes if it simply sat down with Congress and negotiated in good faith.
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.