As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Expert: Obama Could Seize Power of Purse From Congress

A possible Republican plan to tie defunding Obamacare to an increase in the federal debt ceiling could provoke a Constitutional crisis, with President Obama deciding to borrow money anyway even if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit.

Republicans are currently seeking to attach language defunding Obamacare to legislation to continue government funding after the fiscal year ends October 1. If that fails, they are expected to try to incorporate Obamacare defund language into legislation raising the debt ceiling later in the month. If the Senate, as expected, fails to pass such legislation, the debt ceiling will not increase, and the government may default on its obligations.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, William Galston, a scholar on governance at the Brookings Institution, said President Obama is probably permitted – and even required – to borrow money himself in order to pay off debts coming due and avoid defaulting, whether Congress approves or not.

Writes Galston:

The precise constitutional issue is the relation between the two terse sentences that define and delimit authority over government borrowing. Article I, section 8, provides (in part) that “The Congress shall have Power . . . To borrow money on the credit of the United States.”

The other key constitutional provision is section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which provides (in part) that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions . . . shall not be questioned . . . ”

The most plausible reading of the Constitution allows him—in fact requires him—to do what is necessary to avoid defaulting on the public debt, whatever Congress may do or fail to do. But the Constitution does not allow him to treat all existing statutory programs on a par with the public debt—if doing so would require him to issue new debt above and beyond what is needed to pay the principal and interest on existing debt.

Obama appears to agree.

Little noticed in his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos, which ran Sunday on ABC’s This Week, was a suggestion by Obama that Republicans would be violating the Constitution if they put conditions on raising the debt ceiling.

George, here’s the problem.  The– the– if we set– if we continue to set a precedent in which a president, any president, a Republican president– a Democratic president– where the opposing party controls the House of Representatives– if– if that president is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills– the other party can simply sit there and say, “Well, we’re not gonna put– pay the bills unless you give us what our– what we want,” that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely.

Galston says the issue would have to go to the Supreme Court, but that Obama at least in the interim could borrow money to pay debt. He could also try to fund spending above the debt limit, Galston writes, but this “would be a stretch.”

Though Galston appears to doubt Obama would try to fund spending on his own, the possibility can’t be ruled out. The president has shown a willingness in many areas to push to boundaries of presidential power as far as possible.

46 Responses to Expert: Obama Could Seize Power of Purse From Congress

  1. The current demagogue we have in the Oval Office would not hesitate to grab additional power if he sees a way to do it.
    What is most irritating though is how he continues to out right lie about the debt ceiling never being used in the past to negotiate for other items.
    Bottom line: he’s blown through over $6 trillion in less than 5 years and now wants more.
    If the media put a tenth of the coverage into the financial pedophilia he and his dems are perpetrating upon the young and future generations he wouldn’t stand a chance.

  2. . . . with President Obama deciding to borrow money anyway even if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit.

    He’s already doing that. He’s been doing that for the last four months. Every Treasury report since May 17 of this year has listed our debt at $16,699,396,000,000 which would indicate that our total debt has not increased one penny over the last 126 days. Yet at the same time, the Fed reports that they are dumping $85 billion each month into government coffers.

    We are being lied to. The Executive Branch is working in cahoots with the Fed, and they are doing so outside the limits placed by our Congress. We are living under lawlessness, This upcoming crisis is only for show. Regardless of what Congress does, this Administration will continue to borrow print new money and spend unabated. We are so screwed.

  3. MrObama can stamp his feet and make vague threats about taking hold of the country’s financial obligations, but the question will be who or what will step into what would most certainly be a constitutional quagmire to lend ‘him’ the funds.

    If, or even when, a government shutdown happens, most Americans won’t even notice and some might actually breathe a sigh or relief that BigBrother has been tethered to only do what is mandated by law.

    • I’ll say it again…the country will survive very well if the gov’t is shutdown.

      it does it everyweek.. it’s called saturday. and sunday. and holidays.

    • Every generation since the Founder’s has had to do it’s part to preserve the Republic for the next.
      This is our test.
      November 6th, 2012 showed us how deep the problem but remember: July 4th 1776, 13 colonies banded together against the most powerful military force in the world at the time and through sheer will defeated it.
      Obama may have the media, but he does not have the American Patriot.
      Note to NSA, FBI, Secret Service, CIA, DHS, and all: NO I am not calling for the overthrow of the U.S. government. Just throwing out the bum who’s currently destroying it.

  4. Didn’t we hear these exact same arguments last year? And the year before? How come no one ever discusses the fact that the senate will not do their job and pass a budget?

  5. “But the Constitution does not allow him to treat all existing statutory programs on par with the existing public debt–if doing so would require him to issue new debt above and beyond what is needed to pay the principal and interest on existing debt.” Isn’t this how the Republicans should go about defunding Obamacare? Obama is obliged to cut new entitlements if they keep us from honoring our existing debt. Ergo, Obamacare should go because it will hinder us from meeting existing debt.

  6. Let me summarize the Republican concern here.

    “The President might do something illegal to fund his illegal legislation, so we’d better just give him what he wants so it all looks legal and legit.”

    About right?

    Gee, as much as I’d like to live in a world where I could drive 100 miles an hour and a traffic cop won’t give me a ticket ’cause he worriies I might just ignore it, we are SUPPOSED to live under the rule of law here. If the President wants something illegal, he will just have to commit an openly impeachable offence to do it. Yes, it would be a Constitutional crisis, but we have one ANYWAY if Congress feels that it has to de facto ratify all the unconstitutional stuff Obama wants to avoid one. That’s kinda where the Reichstag went off the rails, and that didn’t end well for them. I don’t think they got to keep their cushy jobs, either.

    Stop the nonsense. Make him CLEARLY violate the Constitution in a way that leaves no doubt, then call him out on it. If he can’t follow the law, make sure EVERYONE knows it, and we can proceed to whatever may be necessary at that point. Whatever you do though, Republicans, DON’T do it just because you feel you have to legitimize an illegal act to keep from looking impotent. Slaves are made in such ways.

    I weep for our Country, but my trust is in G_d. HE will settle with this guy, sooner or later, in full measure. In the mean time, PLEASE, Congressmen, at least TRY to stand up to the evil in our time. DON’T just say it’s OK just to be gettin’ along…

    That’s exactly what he wants.

    • “The President might do something illegal to fund his illegal legislation, so we’d better just give him what he wants so it all looks legal and legit.” About right?

      Yep, you nailed it. Obama is asking for legal sanction to do what he is currently doing illegally, and the GOP-E is more than willing to give it to them. Hopefully this time around, enough of them will grow a pair and say, “we are no longer going to make it OK for you to break the law by changing the law. If you choose to continue breaking the law, we will have no part in it.”

  7. What’s mind-boggling is that by the time Barack Obama is finished he will have accumulated the same amount of debt as all the previous presidents, from 10 trillion to 20 trillion. Have no doubt that this profligate “president” will do everything in his power to keep spending.

  8. Constitution? Since when has this fraud ever paid attention to that old dusty document? We haven’t been operating as a Constitutional Republic for a while now. Look around and witness life under the leftist utopian ideal!

    Leave it to the WSJ to find some leftist “expert” who will justify the snatching of the last vestige of the separation of powers – the power of the purse. Just more kabuki theater to agitate the commoners – another manufactured crisis. If it’s not a manufactured crisis, how is it possible that this corrupt government spends $3 trillion every year, yet our debt hasn’t budged for 4 months?

  9. The government has been shut down 17 times since 1976. The last big one was 1995-1996 for 28 days. Newt Gingrich was Speaker. Non essential employees were furloughed. The “have to” bill were paid. The issue at the time was Medicare Part B. The Republicans wanted it to be $53.50/month. Clinton wanted $42.50/month.

    • The Democrats are calling the House move the “Pay China first bill”. That’s typical of them. They don’t believe in paying their debts, just keep spending.

  10. Well, if Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling again, we should expect another firey speech from THIS guy, who railed against Bush for the same thing…

    “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” -Barak Hussein Obama

    Why NOT have Obama debate himself? That way, one of his two favorite people in the world would defintlely win. They just have to figure out how to mic both of his faces…

  11. I have always understood that the congress are the only body that can spend the money. Now this guy claims theres away around that. Why even have a congress then. Just let the dictator rule against the peoples wishs. This is the most GD thing I ever heard of.

  12. Obama has gotten away with murder (literally) and the Republicans need to grow a spine and start pushing back. As far as I’m concerned, impeachment proceedings should be started. I don’t care that Biden would become President. He could NOT possibly be as bad as Obama. At least he loves God, his family and his country. We cannot say that about Obama.

  13. Huh? I don’t see how either or both of those sentences could possibly be construed to allow Obama to seize the power of the purse. Of course, I do have that little handicap called a functioning brain.

  14. Laughing. There is a big Lix of Cruz seated in a large chair with his arms outstretched palms up as if to say — stop – enough -pushing back. The caption is a tease of filibuster.

    What made me laugh was the idea of thin skinned Barrack seeing this challenge. Not that anybody who values their life would show this to him.

  15. The problem is, when is it even Moral or Ethical, to continue to fund Unconstitutional social programs, when this country Already has to Borrow (mostly from Foreign Nations, some of whom consider the US to be their ‘Mortal Enemy’) fully 40% of the money being wastefully and Unconstitutionally spent ?

    We taxpayers have to manage to live within our means, or file Bankruptcy. Obama is using the ‘Cloward-Pivens Plan’ to intentionally drive this nation into Default, in order to achieve his Socialist goals !
    Google it !

  16. Galston is either too biased or too ignorant to realize that “the validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned” meant that states readmitted to the union after the civil war had to help pay for the war debt.

    This is absolutely not applicable to anything about the debt ceilingdebate and Obama’s unconstitutional exercise of a power granted exclusively to Congress. Galston makes a totally ridiculous and biased assertion. Doesn’t he know history?

    The Consitution gives Congress the exclusive power to borrow on the national debt. End of story.

  17. which person does not realize he has already done that over and over and the Congress and Senate have allowed it , lauded it, and encouraged it.

  18. It seems to me that, like usual, Democrats are not giving you the full story. A plain reading of the Constitution would also lead you to this little nugget: Art 1, Sec. 9, Clause 7. Quote: No Money shall be drawn from the public Treasury , but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. Perhaps the President can borrow, but he cannot spend.

  19. How many times does Obama have to lie to America and break the constitution law before the congress gets off their bottoms, and Impeach,
    Democrats are on a path of complete destruction of the country, the same as Adolph did to his people.( COMPLETE DOMINANCE )