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Tipsheet

Will Biden Invoke the 14th Amendment in Debt Ceiling Standoff? Yellen Weighs in.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday warned against invoking the 14th Amendment to solve the debt ceiling crisis.

“There is no way to protect our financial system and our economy other than Congress doing its job and raising the debt ceiling and enabling us to pay our bills,” Yellen said on ABC’s “This Week.”

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According to Section Four of the 14th Amendment, the “validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Some say this gives the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own because it would be unconstitutional for the U.S. to stop paying its debts.  

"Of course, there’s always a chance ... for this kind of negotiations, kind of brinksmanship, that you don't reach a deal and then it comes back to the president," host George Stephanopoulos said. 

"[Biden] said on Friday night that he’s not ready to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment. Of course, the Fourteenth Amendment says that full faith and credit of the United States should not be questioned. And the implications to that would be, if he invoked it, the United States would just continue to issue debt, saying it’s unconstitutional not to," he continued. "Now, the president said he’s not ready to do that. But it didn’t seem like he took it off the table. So, is it still a possibility?"

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Yellen cautioned against such a move. 

“We should not get to the point where we need to consider whether the president can go on issuing debt. This would be a constitutional crisis,” Yellen added.



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