WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she would use the 14th Amendment to automatically raise the debt ceiling if she were president.
Speaking to CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Pelosi says she would bypass Congress if they are not willing to raise the debt limit ceiling in order for the U.S. to avoid default.
“The debt ceiling is about spending that has already occurred,” Pelosi told CBS News. “Right now, we have to pay the bills that have been incurred. And if you want to say cut spending for what we do next, fine, but don’t tie it to the debt ceiling.”
The 14th Amendment states that 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.”
President Barack Obama faces new battles in Congress over raising the country’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, as well as scaling back more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts for the military and domestic programs. The cuts are delayed by two months under the compromise.
Republicans say they are willing to raise the debt ceiling but insist any increase must be paired with significant savings from Medicare, Medicaid and other government benefit programs. Obama has said he’s willing to consider spending cuts separately but won’t bargain over the government’s borrowing authority.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday suggested Republicans were prepared to see the nation default on its spending obligations.
“It’s a shame we have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress to get the president to deal with the biggest problem confronting our future, and that’s our excessive spending,” McConnell said.
The federal government reached its borrowing limit last week, so Congress has about two months or three months to raise the debt ceiling or risk a default on federal debt. Massive defense and domestic spending cuts are set to take effect in late February. By late March, the current spending plan will end, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.
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