Can Biden declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional? The 14th Amendment explained

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from The Hill,

President Biden on Sunday said he believes he has the authority to use the 14th Amendment to unilaterally address the debt ceiling, but he acknowledged potential legal challenges could still lead the nation to default if he went that route.

As brinksmanship over the debt ceiling continues and the U.S. barrels towards defaulting on its debts as early as June 1, some legal experts have advocated for alternative and unprecedented solutions to ensure the government could continue paying its bills, including invoking the 14th Amendment.

Some officials in the White House are discussing the prospect of essentially declaring the debt ceiling as unconstitutional, the New York Times reports.

It is unclear whether the White House would proceed with such a move if the U.S. gets closer to June 1 without hard progress on the current debt ceiling negotiations. Invoking the 14th Amendment would almost certainly invite legal challenges which could start a separate fight on the debt ceiling.

As the government heads toward a possible default on its debt as soon as next month, officials are entertaining a legal theory that previous administrations ruled out.

That option is effectively a constitutional challenge to the debt limit. Under the theory, the government would be required by the 14th Amendment to continue issuing new debt to pay bondholders, Social Security recipients, government employees and others, even if Congress fails to lift the limit before the so-called X-date.

That theory rests on the 14th Amendment clause stating 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.”

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