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Biden Adviser Urges Utilizing the 14th Amendment to Address Debt Standoff

President Joe Biden’s consideration of using the 14th Amendment to resolve the ongoing debt standoff has sparked debate and drawn attention from constitutional scholars. While Biden expressed concerns about potential court challenges, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, a renowned constitutional scholar, and Biden advisor, argues that the president’s fears are misplaced. Tribe believes that the 14th Amendment could provide a legal pathway to navigate the debt ceiling issue, urging Biden to embrace this novel approach. This article examines the evolving discourse surrounding the use of the 14th Amendment and explores the potential implications of employing it to address the debt standoff.

Tribe’s Persuasive Arguments:

Laurence Tribe has been actively advocating for the utilization of the 14th Amendment as a solution to the debt ceiling crisis. His argument centers around the notion that Congress cannot both require the executive branch to spend money and create debt while simultaneously imposing a separate limit on that spending. Tribe asserts that House Republicans, who may challenge Biden’s use of the 14th Amendment, would likely lack legal standing to sue the president. He anticipates that the Supreme Court would reject any such case, thereby diminishing the potential legal obstacles associated with this approach.

Biden’s Reception and Hesitation:

President Biden, acknowledging Tribe’s arguments, expressed openness to considering the 14th Amendment option once the current standoff is resolved. Biden, however, remains cautious due to concerns that legal challenges could further complicate the situation and potentially lead to market chaos. While he recognizes Tribe’s expertise and respects his advice, Biden is apprehensive about pursuing this avenue until the immediate crisis is averted.

Exploring Constitutional Imperatives:

Democrats on Capitol Hill have shown a degree of support for leveraging the 14th Amendment but are wary of potential court battles that could arise. They recognize the constitutional command to pay debts but are concerned about the June 1 deadline and the uncertainty surrounding the application of the 14th Amendment. Republicans, on the other hand, strongly oppose this approach, insisting on finding a resolution through cooperation and cost-cutting measures.

Debt Ceiling Limitations:

The growing interest in using the 14th Amendment stems from the belief that the debt ceiling serves no positive purpose and only contributes to periodic crises. The Amendment’s assertion that the nation’s debts “shall not be questioned” has captured attention as a potential legal basis for ensuring the continued payment of debts authorized by Congress. As the nation edges closer to default, the discussion surrounding this alternative has gained momentum.

Challenges and Next Steps:

While the concept of relying on the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt standoff lacks substantial precedent, proponents argue that the Constitution and the country’s financial obligations should take precedence. The logistics of formally invoking the 14th Amendment remain uncertain, but Biden’s White House counsel is expected to explore various options if Congress remains uncooperative.

The ongoing debt standoff has prompted renewed consideration of utilizing the 14th Amendment as a legal means to address the crisis. As President Biden weighs his options, Laurence Tribe’s persuasive arguments continue to influence the discourse surrounding this novel approach. While challenges and political opposition persist, the potential of invoking the 14th Amendment represents a distinct avenue for the administration to navigate the complexities of the debt ceiling, potentially mitigating the risk of default and promoting financial stability in the country.

By: Victor Christensen


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