“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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.” – 14th Amendment, Section 4, Public Debt
Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman signed onto a letter with colleagues calling on President Joe Biden to keep the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on the table in negotiations over the debt ceiling.
“President Biden needs to consider using the 14th Amendment if necessary,” he said in a statement. “The entire GOP debt ceiling negotiation is a sad charade, and it’s exactly what’s wrong with Washington. We’re playing with fire and the livelihoods of millions just for the GOP to try and turn the screws on hungry Americans.”
The emerging letter, which is still in the works, is a sign of growing progressive dissatisfaction with some aspects of the legislative negotiations, like Republican demands to impose tougher work requirements to receive federal benefits. The letter is being led by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), as well as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“We write to urgently request that you prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which clearly states: ‘the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned,'” the senators write in the draft letter, obtained by NBC News. “Using this authority would allow the United States to continue to pay its bills on-time, without delay, preventing a global economic catastrophe.”
“While we cannot default on our debt, we also cannot allow the destructive Republican budget to be implemented,” they continue.
“This is the whole reason why the 14th Amendment exists, and we need to be prepared to use it,” said Fetterman. “We cannot let these reckless Republicans hold the economy hostage.
“And, if our unelected Supreme Court Justices try to block the use of the 14th amendment and blow up our economy, that’s on them.”
The junior senator also announced his intention to cosponsor legislation led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) that would repeal the debt ceiling once and for all.