Biden says he has authority to invoke the 14th Amendment in debt ceiling negotiations

The president called the latest Republican offers in talks on raising the debt ceiling and federal budget adjustments "unacceptable."

Joe Biden confirmed Sunday that he feels he has the power to end the debt ceiling impasse with Republicans due to his right as president to invoke the 14th Amendment.

At a press conference held at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the president acknowledged that he was considering utilizing the constitutional amendment to raise the country’s public debt ceiling. Biden, however, expressed doubts about the effectiveness of invoking the 14th Amendment at this stage since it is June 1 when the country risks default for the first time in history.

I’m looking at the 14th Amendment as to whether or not we have the authority — I think we have the authority, The question is, could it be done and invoked in time that it would not be appealed, and as a consequence past the date in question and still default on the debt. That is a question that I think is unresolved.

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states that Congress is prohibited from repealing a contract of debt incurred by a prior Congress.

If Biden ultimately invokes the amendment, he would challenge the constitutionality of the debt ceiling and attempt to bypass Congress entirely on this issue. Members of the Republican Party in Congress have been negotiating with the president for weeks about possibly reducing the federal budget in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. However, the White House has repeatedly opposed this cost-saving measure.

At the press conference, Biden again criticized Republicans for taking what he said was an “extreme” position in the negotiations. He said he would speak with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy when he returns home from Japan, where he is currently on an official visit amid the negotiations.

A ‘productive’ call

McCarthy confirmed that he will meet with the president when he returns to Washington. In addition, he told reporters on Capitol Hill that he had spoken with Biden on the phone while aboard Air Force One.

The Republican said the call had been “productive.” However, he clarified in a tweet that his position had not been modified and maintained that the Administration could not continue spending dollars that the United States does not have “at the expense of our children and grandchildren.”