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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Can Congress Allow Default? -
an interesting question which is being examined closely as the August 2 deadline looms on the nation's debt limit. Some constitutional scholars are saying Congress can not allow a default to take place as the 14th amendment forbids Congress from defaulting. has more here.

This argument, if true, makes the current debate over budget cuts, moot. However, Democrats have yet to latch onto this argument. However, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did bring it up recently in a conference call with reporters. Stay Tuned...


Clinton Tells Obama To Stand Firm on Budget -
when talking about President Obama's call to increase the federal debt ceiling by August 2, Clinton said "This is the political equivalent of the government shutdown when I was president," Clinton said. "The White House could blink. I hope not."


Trade Agreements Stalled in Congress -
in what is now a very familiar refrain pertaining to any legislation. After, what seemed to be agreement, the White House sent long negotiated trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia to Capitol Hill. Only, to be rebuffed by Republican lawmakers who were upset over the inclusion of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers displaced as a result of the trade agreements. has more here.


Thaddeus McCotter Announces Run for President -
Who is he? is the question most are asking. The Republican Michigan Representative is a long shot in the campaign to receive the Republican Party nomination. From the suburbs of Detroit, he backed the auto bail-out, but is in favor of government restructuring. has more here.


Small Plane Intercepted Near Camp David -
in an apparent mistake, a small plane ventured into the air space near Camp David, where the president and family are staying, and was intercepted by NORAD. The plane was escorted to an air field in Hagerstown, Maryland, where it was forced to land. The Washington Post has more here.

For those of us who live in nearby Frederick, Maryland, the sound of jet planes and the subsequent whirling noise generated by the helicopters carrying the president and guests, is a familiar one.


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1 comment:

John Nail said...

If I understand this the Constitution trumps any other law like the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling raise is needed not for new spending but that that has been already authorized by Congress, ie by law and thus the President has 2 duties:
1) Uphold all laws that have been passed
2) The debt has already been committed to over many years so it is valid and "shall not be questioned.

That makes using the 14th a no brainer.

The Presidential oath also requires the President to protect and defend the Constitution. If he does not follow it as laid out above one could argue you could impeach him as well.

In fact all members of Congress took a similar oath so their inaction to provide the debt ceiling action needed to fund the laws passed by them could be deemed a violation of their oath of office subjecting Boehner in particular to impeachment. Right?

The other issue here is that failure to protect the nation's financial system from a meltdown is akin to "war" and the President again is bound to protect the nation as well. Keeping the nation from falling into a deeper recession, higher borrowing costs, higher deficits due to a double dip and the world losing faith in the US as a reserve currency makes his inaction on the 14th impeachable to me.

Failure to act has been estimated to cost the US $50B minimum directly for even a few day default due to increased debt rollover costs and as much as a trillion over a decade not to mention higher borrowing costs for consumers and business as well.

The President has put forth $2T in cuts and asked for $400B in tax loopholes being closed. Every deficit reduction plan that Reagan, Bush I and Clinton did required a combination. Why can't the Repubs simply negotiate in good faith and get this done?

If they do not they will get hung out to dry by the President being forced to act under his Constitutional duty. That surely isn't going to help them defeat Obama. It might just sew up his re-election before they even have a primary.

If they think he isn't tough enough to do this. Just remember the Sunday nite we found about Osama or the Somali pirates that were taken out right after he took office.

If he needs to he will act and get the job done as he should, no doubt about it.

PERRY V. UNITED STATES, 294 U. S. 330 (1935)

The government’s contention thus raises a question of far greater importance than the particular claim of the plaintiff. On that reasoning, if the terms of the government’s bond as to the standard of payment can be repudiated, it inevitably follows that the obligation as to the amount to be paid may also be repudiated. The contention necessarily imports that the Congress can disregard the obligations of the government at its discretion, and that, when the government borrows money, the credit of the United States is an illusory pledge…

The Constitution gives to the Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, an unqualified power, a power vital to the government, upon which in an extremity its very life may depend. The binding quality of the promise of the United States is of the essence of the credit which is so pledged. Having this power to authorize the issue of definite obligations for the payment of money borrowed, the Congress has not been vested with authority to alter or destroy those obligations.