From TPM Reader JB …
I think that the suggestion that the government pays some bills but not all of them is setting up a lawsuit more than the actual plan. SCOTUS made clear that the President does not have the choice to execute only parts of the spending of the US as commissioned by Congress in Clinton v. City of New York.
As you know, The Court said a bill must be approved or rejected by the President in its entirety. So, in suggesting that somethings may not get paid, that creates litigants with standing to sue the government to carry out the laws as passed by congress and signed by the president. Here, we have the 14th Amendment and budget bills on one side and the debt ceiling law on the other, but these are all modified by the government’s inability to not pay for things based on the SCOTUS ruling.
That is how I see the lawsuit now filed by the National Association of Government Employees: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/union-sues-strike-down-us-debt-limit-default-looms-2023-05-08/. I would assume as more people find out who won’t be paid, there will be more litigants.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this scenario has a lot of the dynamics of a government shutdown. I think JB is quite possibly right here. But I think we should see it in the context of the broader situation. If the White House goes down this path, which they may or may not believe is the only constitutionally viable path they have (that’s really not clear), the thinking is probably to say to Republicans, fine, you’ve got your crisis. Let’s see how it plays out for you. The legal repercussions are just one part of that.