Amid a growing drumbeat in progressive circles urging Joe Biden to avert a debt-limit crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment, the president has signaled he’s unlikely to do so, Politico reports.
Administration officials fear invoking the 14th Amendment would trigger a protracted legal battle, undermine faith in the U.S. globally, and damage the economy, Politico’s Adam Cancryn reports in an article published under the headline, “Biden’s 14th Amendment message to progressives: It ain’t gonna happen.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the government could run out of money as soon as June 1, warning of disastrous consequences for the global economy if the U.S. defaults on its debt.
Cancryn writes that “Senior Biden officials have told progressive activists and lawmakers in recent days that they do not see the 14th Amendment — which says the ‘validity of the public debt’ cannot be questioned — as a viable means of circumventing debt ceiling negotiations. They have argued that doing so would be risky and destabilizing, according to three people familiar with the discussions.”
“They have not ruled it out,” a White House advisor granted anonymity to speak frankly told Politico. “But it is not currently part of the plan.”
Cancryn writes that “Biden himself has said that he sees a bipartisan deal as the only option to the current standoff, casting doubt on the 14th Amendment as workable in public remarks. But the private resistance being registered by his aides has frustrated progressives who worry the president is too readily giving up his leverage. It also threatens to fracture months of party unity behind Biden’s debt ceiling strategy, exposing the White House to increasingly vocal criticism just as it enters the final stage of its high-stakes standoff with the GOP.”
Cornell University law professor Robert Hockett told Politico that the president risks blowback from progressive who feel left out of the negotiations.
“I think Biden is actually flirting dangerously with a backlash among his own supporters,” Hockett said.
But according to Politico’s reporting, Biden doesn’t seem to be listening.
Cancryn writes that “Top White House aides have largely dismissed the rising angst among progressives and other allies who feel left out of debt talks. Instead, the administration has effectively gone all in on a debt ceiling-and-budget agreement with Republicans that officials hoped to finalize as early as Sunday, the people familiar with the discussions said.”