In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Pelosi: Obama Should Raise Debt Limit Directly, Go Around Congress


"This isn't just about credit ratings," she added. "It's about the dynamism of our economy."

Many progressives -- including some high-profile members of Congress -- urged Obama to short circuit the contrived crisis by taking matters into his own hands. Even Bill Clinton said he would've invoked the 14th amendment and dared Republicans to stop him.

But most higher profile Democrats in Congress were wary of over-interpreting the Constitution. Top legal scholars and practitioners, of a variety of ideological leanings, expressed doubts that the 14th Amendment gave the president such wide latitude, and warned of potentially far-reaching consequences if the he took such a unilateral move. Obama administration lawyers reached the same conclusions.

At the time, Pelosi reportedly privately wanted Obama to call the GOP's bluff. But she declined to say so publicly. This time around she isn't being so cautious.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at