Unwilling to be the victim of yet another fake hostage crisis, some Congressional Democrats have already begun pushing for a unilateral solution to the debt ceiling.
On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her position that President Obama should simply invoke the 14th Amendment to declare the debt ceiling unconstitutional. From The Hill:
The California Democrat said that, given the opportunity if she were president, she would not hesitate to invoke the 14th Amendment in order to hike the debt ceiling without congressional support — a move the Obama administration has rejected outright.
“I’ve made my view very clear on that subject: I would do it in a second,” Pelosi said Friday during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “But I’m not the president of the United States.”
Earlier in the week, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) came out in favor of a slightly different solution that would also allow the President to unilaterally deal with the debt limit. In an interview with Capital New York Nadler endorsed minting a trillion dollar platinum coin. From Capital New York:
“There is specific statutory authority that says that the Federal Reserve can mint any non-gold or -silver coin in any denomination, so all you do is you tell the Federal Reserve to make a platinum coin for one trillion dollars, and then you deposit it in the Treasury account, and you pay your bills,” Nadler said in a telephone interview this afternoon.
I asked whether he was serious.
“I’m being absolutely serious,” he said. “It sounds silly but it’s absolutely legal. And it would normally not be proper to consider such a thing, except when you’re faced with blackmail to destroy the country’s economy, you have to consider things.”
It is understandable why Congressional Democrats are already taking up unilateral solutions. Unless Obama adopts one of them, or at least threatens to possibly adopt one, the only way Democrats can “win” the debt ceiling fight is to hope Obama simply shows more resolve than Congressional Republicans.
Given Obama’s behavior in past negotiations, I imagine few Congressional Democrats want to rely on that.