President Joe Biden claimed that he will consider using the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling without Congress’ approval, according to Newsweek. But Biden suggested that if the situation gets to that point, he might be out of time to do it.
Raising the debt ceiling has been a contentious debate between Democrats and Republicans. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reportedly said that the hard deadline to do so is June 1, otherwise, the United States will not be able to pay its bills. The ceiling currently sits at $31.4 trillion. If the U.S. defaults on its bills it will spell disaster for the economy. Interest rates will skyrocket on top of the raises the Federal Reserve has implemented to curb inflation, the stock market will most certainly plunge, and businesses will have a tougher time taking out loans, likely resulting in greater rates of unemployment.
If negotiations do not conclude between the two parties, a catastrophe can be circumnavigated if the president can invoke the 14th Amendment. Passed in 1866, the amendment was drafted to ensure that the country will not neglect to pay its debt incurred from the Civil War.
But the amendment is also open to interpretation. Section 4 of the amendment reads that the “validity of the public debt…shall not be questioned.” Supporters of Biden’s interpretation say that the country’s debts are legally authorized, therefore not raising the debt ceiling will be a failure to meet its obligations.
Republicans are trying to secure spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the ceiling—which will allow the federal government to continue borrowing. But Biden ideally wants to keep his financial expenditures in place to sustain his agenda.
After House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with the president in the Oval Office Monday, Biden made it clear that they agreed that a default was not an option.