WASHINGTON — On the same day the White House ruled out using the 14th Amendment to raise the federal debt limit, a Democratic senator said that tack should be reserved as “an option.”
“I don’t think they ought to rule it out,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters Thursday.
The 14th Amendment asserts that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned.” Some have argued that the president could use this as justification to unilaterally raise the debt limit, though it’s unclear whether courts would consider such a move constitutional.
The debt ceiling was the focus of some debate in the Senate earlier Thursday, when Republicans tried to force a vote on the president’s plan to take away Congress’ authority to raise the debt limit. Republicans retreated when it became clear Democrats would vote in favor of the measure.
“What this shows is that Republicans are getting flummoxed and throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
But Schumer said he doesn’t think the White House will need to use its constitutional authority to bypass Congress.
“Better if Congress actually just raises it and takes that off the table, and that’s what’s going to happen,” Schumer said.