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 May 28, 2023

Biden will not invoke the 14th Amendment to avoid default

President Joe Biden will not invoke the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid default. 

Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury, indicated as much to CNN on Friday during an appearance on CNN This Morning. 

There, Adeyemo said:

The question was whether the United States would use the 14th Amendment and I think the president and (Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) have been very clear that that will not solve our problems now. So, yes, that is a no.

The idea of invoking the 14th Amendment to avoid default is a theoretical one that has been pushed by many progressive Democrats. They cite the part of the 14th Amendment that states, "the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned."

The progressives have used this clause to argue that Biden and the U.S. Treasury, if necessary, could simply ignore the debt ceiling in order to ensure that the government's debt is not "questioned."

Although the progressives have been pushing the idea, it has not been clear whether or not Biden supports it.

Biden has expressed his opinion that the government does have the "authority" to ignore the debt ceiling, but he has also said that he does not view the idea as a solution to the debt ceiling problem.

The problem, of course, is that the U.S. government is running out of money to pay its debts. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday put the default date at June 5.

Default could have significant negative economic consequences. But, it is appearing more and more likely that default will be avoided.

On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has been in debt ceiling negotiations with Biden, indicated that a deal had been reached, at least "in principle."

"We still have a lot of work to do," McCarthy said. "But I believe this is an agreement in principle that's worthy of the American people."

McCarthy gave a preview of what the bill might look like, saying:

It has historic reductions in spending, consequential reforms that will lift people out of poverty into the workforce, and [it will[ rein in government overreach. There are no new taxes, no new government programs. There's a lot more within the bill.

Any deal reached between McCarthy and Biden, however, still must be approved by both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

McCarthy suggested that lawmakers will likely get access to the bill on Sunday, and he expressed a hope that the bill will be voted on by Wednesday, May 31.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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