Democrats Call for Executive Action to Resolve Debt Ceiling Crisis
By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
As the prospects for a legislated agreement on raising the debt ceiling remain remote, demands for President Obama to take unilateral action are increasing.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) suggested that “the president could use his authority under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling on his own. If Congress can’t agree on what’s right for the country, the President is empowered to go forward without their approval.”
Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) maintains that “under the 14th Amendment, the president has broad authority to act for the good of the people in the event that Congress can’t or won’t.” In support of his contention, Clyburn cited Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
“President Lincoln had no Constitutional authority to free the slaves,” Clyburn pointed out. “In fact, the Constitution explicitly protected slavery. But he had a moral obligation to undo this blot on our nation’s history. A default on our debt would be another blot on our history. If Congress won’t take action to prevent it, it is the President’s moral obligation to do so.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) was even more strident in her characterization of Republican opposition to the President’s demands. “The secession Lincoln had to deal with was serious enough to warrant suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Today’s Republicans, though, are enemies of life on this planet. Measures that might be judged extreme under normal circumstances may be our only option.”
The section of the 14th Amendment the Democrats are saying empowers the President to raise the debt ceiling reads: “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.”
In related news, Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) called the whole debt ceiling debate “a charade. Look, at the end of the day the ceiling will be raised. It always has been. Too many people are counting on getting their hands on government money. The spending binge will go on until we go bankrupt. Then we’ll be forced to cut back. But until that day don’t expect anyone to stick his neck out for fiscal constraint. It just won’t happen.”
Downgrading of U.S. Debt “Virtually Inevitable”
Standard & Poor President Deven Sharma appeared before a House subcommittee and declared that a downgrade of US Treasury Debt is “virtually inevitable.”
“From an investor’s perspective, whether the debt ceiling is raised, at best, is irrelevant,” Sharma asserted. “After all, it is the United States that is the borrower. A borrower granting himself permission to borrow more money is meaningless if prospective lenders aren’t willing to lend.”
The key factor influencing potential lenders’ willingness to lend, according to Sharma, is the likelihood of repayment. “Current debt obligations and their projected growth under the Obama Administration evince a very palpable risk that US Government revenues will not be sufficient to service that debt,” Sharma observed. “Unless there is an immediate reduction in spending of at least
$400 billion per year beginning with fiscal 2012, a downgrade of US Treasury bonds will take place.”
Under a “best case scenario” a downgrade of US Treasuries would add hundreds of billions of dollars to each year’s deficit. Under a “worst case scenario” there might be insufficient buyers for any added debt.
DNC Chair Says Opposition to President Is Dangerous
Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla), chair of the Democratic National Committee, accused House Republicans of acting like dictators for their persistent opposition to President Obama’s Government.
“President Obama is trying to lead this country through perilous times,” Wasserman-Schultz said. “We need all hands to pull together toward a common goal. Yet, the Republicans adamantly refuse to accept his leadership. They cling to their own agenda of lower taxes and lower spending despite being told repeatedly that the President rejects these goals.”
“The president was elected to rule over all of America,” Wasserman-Schultz insisted. “It is our obligation as members of Congress to ensure that he has the ways and means necessary to carry out his responsibilities. Just because they have the majority of seats in the House doesn’t give Republicans the right to thwart his efforts. They’re acting like dictators. This is dangerous for the country.”
Absence of Democrat’s Plan for Debt Crisis Explained
While House Republicans have now produced two plans for addressing the debt ceiling crisis, the Democrats have yet to produce one. This hasn’t stopped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and President Obama from denouncing Republican efforts as unacceptable. The Democrats have cited the Constitution in defense of their position.
“The Constitution says that all revenue bills shall originate in the House of Representatives,” Reid pointed out. “It is their responsibility to resolve this crisis. All we can do in the Senate is badger them until they get it right.”
“The president needs to retain his freedom of action,” explained Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney. “If he were to publicly commit to anything specific his ability to control events would be hampered. Besides, the Constitution places the responsibility for fiscal matters squarely in the House. The president is granted the power to make recommendations, but he is not required to do so.
Thus far, the president has found it more advantageous to stand back and criticize GOP proposals he finds unsuitable.”
President Mulling Amnesty Proclamation
In a speech before the National Council of La Raza, an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of the Latino “race,” President Obama commiserated with the “pain” of illegal immigrants and shared his frustration with what he called a “do nothing” Congress.
Obama said “the idea of bypassing Congress is very tempting. Getting a hundred senators and 400 representatives to take action on anything is like herding cats. Everybody’s got their own notions of where we ought to go. On top of this, many serve constituencies comprised of rednecks and rubes. So even if their hearts are in the right place they can’t risk alienating voters in their states.”
The president said he has been studying President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as a possible model for a potential “Amnesty Proclamation” he might issue. “There’s actually more leeway for a declaration of amnesty for undocumented residents than there was for Lincoln to free the slaves,” Obama argued. “The Constitution specifically provided for slavery. The Constitution says nothing about prohibiting immigration. In fact, up until the 1920s anyone who wanted to could come into America.”
“An Executive Order declaring that every undocumented immigrant presently in the country shall be granted the full rights and privileges of US citizenship would cancel the inaction of Congress and make a significant stride toward the expansion of human rights for an oppressed people,” the President told the audience. “I mean, how long should a respect for so-called enumerated powers be allowed to impede such a righteous cause?”
As radical as the president’s possible amnesty proclamation might be, it fell short of fully placating La Raza supporters who demand that the land “stolen” from Mexico in the war of 1846 be returned. “The United States is going down the drain,” said audience member Manuel Trabajo. “Unemployment is nearly 10%. In Mexico unemployment is below 5%. Returning these lands to Mexico would restore both justice and prosperity to the Latinos who inhabit them.”
GOP Bill to Block US Foreign Aid to Corrupt Governments Opposed by Clinton
A House Foreign Affairs Committee approved bill would trim an estimated $6 billion from an Administration foreign aid budget request by blocking payments to countries that don’t meet certain standards aimed at reducing corruption and guaranteeing against funds being transferred to terrorist organizations. Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority are expected to be especially hard hit by these standards.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the bill as “an impediment to the goals and objectives of the Administration’s foreign policy. It is the President who is tasked with the responsibilities of conducting the nation’s relations with other countries. It is Congress’ task to make sure that adequate resources are available.”
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla), the chairwoman of the House committee, expressed her disappointment with Clinton’s position. “All we were asking is that the Administration go on record certifying that recipients meet the standards before any of our tax dollars are given to these foreign governments,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Secretary Clinton’s opposition to making such a certification seems to be saying that the option to fund corrupt governments or to indirectly finance terrorist groups is a vital part of the Administration’s foreign policy. I don’t think the president has a mandate for such an option.”
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