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The 14th amendment: The validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned.

posted Jul 29, 2011, 7:17 AM by Eldar Radovici   [ updated Jul 31, 2011, 11:08 AM ]
Section 4 of the 14th amendment states: 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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Q: Does the 14th amendment allow the president to raise the debt ceiling w/o congressional approval?
A: The 14th amendment does not explicitly allow the president to raise the debt ceiling. Section 4 of the 14th amendment refers to the confederate debt and "the loss of emancipation of any slave" during the civil war era and is clearly outdated. Referencing this amendment to the current debt ceiling situation is poor political maneuvering and its application would be subject to the courts if it is repurposed to raise the debt ceiling. However, former president Bill Clinton thinks the current administration could repurpose this amendment to raise the debt ceiling.