Thursday, November 15, 2012

Which Part of ...

... "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives," and "Congress shall have Power ... To borrow Money on the credit of the United States," does Matt Miller not understand?

In today's Washington Post, Miller trots out last year's bogus "14th Amendment argument" for a presidential power to raise the US government's "debt ceiling."

Let's be crystal clear here: That argument is 100% bogus. There's just no way to get from "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" to "the President of the United States can borrow money on the credit of the United States if he really, really, really wants to but Congress won't play ball."

It is Congress and Congress alone which has the power to raise revenue both in general and via the specific means of borrowing. The president can stop them from doing so with the veto, but he can't do it himself in their stead. There's no constitutional route over, under or around that fact.

So, no dice, Miller ... but you do get a consolation prize:

Only one house of Congress has the power to initiate the raising of revenue, and that is the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives. The Democratic US Senate and the Democrat president can concur with, or attempt to block, the House's decision to rack up more debt, but if the House doesn't propose it, that's the end of it.

So for the next two years, every last dime of government debt will be Republican debt. The Democrats don't get to spend it unless the Republicans borrow it.

If President Obama is smart, he'll force the GOP to own that instead of trying to find a way around it.

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