Invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the U.S. debt ceiling as a way to work around the slow-moving negotiations is not an option, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told CNN last week. Friday, the administration’s most definitive response to an unlikely option some progressives have demanded.
“The question is whether the United States will use the 14th Amendment and I think the president and (Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) are very clear that that will not solve our problems right now. So, yes, that is a no,” Adeyemo said. when asked about the prospect of CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “CNN This Morning.”
Some progressives have called on President Joe Biden to invoke the amendment — saying, in part, that “The validity of the public debt of the United States … legal action. The president previously said that he believed the federal government had the “authority” to do so but he did not consider invoking the 14th Amendment as an immediate solution.
The solution ultimately lies with Congress to raise the debt limit, Adeyemo said.
“Congress has the ability to do that, and the president is calling on them to act on that as soon as possible,” he said Friday.
There are signs that negotiations on raising the country’s debt limit are gaining momentum, but major differences remain and it is unclear how quickly an agreement can be reached. Time is running out as the risk of a first default grows, with officials pointing to June 1 as the earliest day on which the Treasury Department cannot pay all of its bills in full and on time.
Republicans have demanded spending cuts and stricter work requirements for social safety net programs, which Democrats have largely rejected.
While the 14th Amendment is considered a theoretical workaround, previous administrations have deemed such a move unlikely.
Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce pushed back strongly against efforts by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other progressives to urge the White House to invoke the 14th Amendment to avoid a catastrophic default.
“It is the view of the House that an attempt to exercise the so-called ‘powers’ under the 14th Amendment would be as disastrous to the economy as a default by failure to lift the debt limit in a timely manner. ,” said Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s chief policy officer. and a former senior aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, wrote the letter.
Yellen also poured cold water on the idea of using the 14th Amendment, saying, “there is no way to protect our financial system and our economy other than for Congress to do its job and raise on the debt ceiling.”