by Rick Moran
How would you describe Democrats in Congress who are urging the president to ignore the law and up the limit on government borrowing by executive fiat?
The party and ideology that passed the War Powers Act because they felt the executive had overstepped his authority in waging war, now proposes to lay down and grovel before the president, unilaterally giving up their prerogatives as co-equal partners in government.
It is sickening to watch.
The top four Democrats wrote Obama on Friday to urge him against allowing the debt ceiling becoming a bargaining chip with Republicans, who might threaten to vote against any increase in the debt limit without new spending cuts or entitlement reforms from the administration.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and three other Democrats wrote:
In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt limit extension only as part of unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis -- without Congressional approval, if necessary.
There is only one "lawful step:" Obey the law governing raising the debt limit.
MSNBC seems a little confused on this point:
The White House has been loath to assert the type of broad executive privileges that would allow the president to unilaterally increase the amount of money the government is able to borrow in order to cover its obligations. Traditionally, approval of an increase in the debt ceiling has been the province of Congress.
The only thing "traditional" about Congress having the authority to raise the debt ceiling is that it is the law of the land. By ascribing congressional power to act in raising the debt limit as a choice, rather than a legal obligation, MSNBC throws its weight behind another illegal power grab by the Obama administration.
It's not clear what authority Obama would invoke to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. Popular theories argue he could invoke the 14th Amendment (which says the "validity of the public debt of the U.S. ... shall not be questioned"), invoke an obscure provision allowing the government to mint a $1 trillion coin to pay for the debt, or even issue I.O.U.s.That last bit is horsesh*t. If Democrats support a "bi-partisan agreement on fiscal policy," they would act in a bi-partisan manner and not unilaterally give up congressional powers and accede to the demands of the executive. Who are they trying to kid?
"We support your view that an extension of the debt limit is not something for which Democrats should have to negotiate," the Democratic leaders wrote. "At the same time, as a separate matter, we agree about the importance of developing a broad, bipartisan agreement on fiscal policy that strengthens our economy and reduces our long-term budget deficit."
Why not just send congress home and let the president rule by decree? Proroguing the legislature is a fine old tradition of tyrannical kings. Perhaps Obama will soon assert his divine right to rule us. Maybe he'll get the pope to annoint him emperor.
Governing a democracy is hard. The Democrats seem to believe that because of this, constitutional short cuts, flouting the law, and ceding congressional power can be substitued for the hard, slogging, dreary work of legislative sausage making. There are many reasons we have a dysfunctional government and one of the big ones is that Congress and the president are just too damn lazy to make it work. There will always be ideologues on both sides unwilling to reach any agreement short of getting everything they want. The key is leadership - something so obviously lacking that it is painful to watch.
The fact is, we have an inept president unable to reach out to solve problems not of his own making as well as fixing those policies that he has implemented that have been injurious to the public purse. Instead, we find a monumental disrespect for the Constitution by both the president and his puppets in Congress.
If the Democrats allow this, we will be accelerating down a slippery slope toward an uncertain future.
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