President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that even if such moves survived legal scrutiny, using the Fourteenth Amendment to justify raising the nation’s borrowing authority or issuing a trillion dollar coin wouldn’t be viable solutions to the debt limit fight.
“I know there’s been some discussion, for example, about my powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to go ahead and ignore the debt ceiling law,” the president said in a press conference. “Setting aside the legal analysis, what matters is is that if you start having a situation in which there’s legal controversy about the U.S. Treasury’s authority to issue debt, the damage will have been done even if that were constitutional because people wouldn’t be sure. It would be tied up in litigation for a long time. That’s going to make people nervous.”
“So a lot of the strategies that people have talked about, well the president can roll out a big coin, or he can resort to some other constitutional measure,” he added. “What people ignore is that ultimately what matters is, ‘What are the people who are buying treasury bills think?'”
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.