Mark Levin Dismantles Biden’s Plan to Invoke 14th Amendment for Debt Ceiling
Fox News host Mark Levin has criticized President Joe Biden’s plan to invoke the 14th Amendment if he cannot reach a debt ceiling agreement with House Republicans. Levin, who worked in the Reagan Justice Department, reviewed the powers granted by the Constitution to Congress and the president in relation to these matters on his program “Life, Liberty & Levin” on Sunday.
Levin cited Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, which provides, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense.” He noted that this is a primary, core duty of the Congress, and specifically the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Article II, Section 3 requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” including those related to the nation’s finances.
Biden has said he is considering invoking the 14th Amendment if he cannot reach an agreement with House Republicans. Levin called such an interpretation of the 14th Amendment “preposterous,” pointing out that the provision was passed in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War for a very specific purpose.
What Does the 14th Amendment Say?
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.”
Levin elaborated that the amendment’s purpose was to provide that all expenses incurred by the Union to put down the Confederate states’ rebellion would be paid, but any expenses racked up by the Confederacy would not.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley reached a similar conclusion. “The drafters of this amendment did not want Congress to simply dismiss its obligations to pay off the Union’s debts from the Civil War. Although the amendment is not limited to those debts, it has nothing to do with debt ceilings set by Congress,” he wrote in a Saturday opinion piece for The Hill.
What Does the Wall Street Journal Say?
The Wall Street Journal editorial board contended that under the 14th Amendment, the Biden administration has a positive duty to pay the nation’s outstanding debt, but the president has not been granted the authority to bypass Congress to accrue new debt.
The board went on to note that the Treasury has more than enough revenue coming to finance the debt. “Federal tax receipts in March were $313 billion and interest payments were $67 billion, according to Treasury’s monthly report on revenue and outlays. In April receipts were $639 billion and interest was $62 billion,” the editors wrote.
What is the GOP’s Plan?
Last month, the GOP-controlled House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Republicans’ plan would save $4.8 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.
The bill suspends the nation’s debt ceiling through March 2024 or until the debt increases by $1.5 trillion, whichever comes first, in exchange for setting fiscal year 2024 discretionary federal spending at fiscal year 2022 levels. It also sets a 1 percent growth cap on federal spending over the next decade and includes a work requirement for some who receive welfare payments.
The CBO projected this month that the deficit will be $1.5 trillion for the current fiscal year, up from February’s
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