There has been some talk that the President can act unilaterally to raise the nation debt limit based on Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law .. . shall not be questioned”.
The argument has been made that since Congress has ALREADY authorized BY LAW each obligation represented in the national debt, by appropriating the funds for various expenditures, any overall “debt limit” is artificially redundant. It would be like writing a bunch of checks and then refusing to deposit the funds in your account to cover them. While a constitutional challenge of the debt limit law may be a defensible argument in the spirit of the 14th Amendment it is not unequivocally compelling, as the 14th Amendment does not expressly authorize what proponents are asking the President to do.
In this context, it is astonishing that apparently nobody has bothered to read the text of Public Debt Law of 1941 itself, embodied in 31 USC 3101, which is what codifies a national debt limit. That law states that:
“The face amount of obligations issued under this chapter and the
face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are
guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed
obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) may not be more
than [some arbitrary huge number] . . .except guaranteed obligations
held by the Secretary of The Treasury”.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2011
Media Contact: Adam Sarvana (202) 225-2435
(202) 573-2562 cell
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today released the following statement on the emerging debt deal:
“This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.
This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations. The very wealthy will continue to receive taxpayer handouts, and corporations will keep their expensive federal giveaways. Meanwhile, millions of families unfairly lose more in this deal than they have already lost. I will not be a part of it.
Save Lives and Money by
Expanding Medicare to All
By Dr. Quentin Young
Beaver County Blue via Fire Dog Lake
July 31, 2011 – With media attention focused on the debt-ceiling drama in Washington, and with so many Americans rightly preoccupied with the frightening level of joblessness and bleak state of the economy, it might seem strange to urge a national celebration of Medicare’s 46th anniversary this Saturday, July 30.
After all, if we’re to believe top lawmakers, Medicare is part of the problem, right? Aren’t we supposed to be talking about raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67, reducing benefits, increasing seniors’ co-pays and deductibles or, even more dire, abolishing the program altogether and handing seniors vouchers to buy private insurance?
Wrong. Despite its market-obsessed detractors and those who would weaken the program in the name of deficit reduction, Medicare is the solution, not the problem. More precisely, an improved Medicare for all – a single-payer health system – is the right prescription for treating not only our health care woes, but our ailing economy as well.
The biggest albatross around the neck of our health care system is the private insurance industry, which remains firmly entrenched under the new federal health law.