WASHINGTON -- During a Twitter town hall Wednesday, President Obama was asked whether he would consider invoking the 14th Amendment to pay government obligations if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Obama did not rule out such an option, but instead insisted that the situation should not get to a place where such drastic measures would be needed.
"I don’t think we should even get to the constitutional issue," Obama said after outlining the issue. "Congress has a responsibility to make sure we pay our bills. We've always paid them in the past. The notion that the U.S. is going to default on its debt is just irresponsible, and my expectation is that over the next week to two weeks that Congress, working with the White House, comes up with a deal that solves our deficit, solves our debt problems and makes sure that our full faith and credit is protected."
Obama didn't address what he might do if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, leaving open the door for unilateral executive action.
Republicans in Congress have pushed back against the notion that Obama could invoke the Constitution to break the impasse. And for good reason: If there are no hostages, there is no hostage crisis -- and no ransom.
Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) became the first member of Congress to threaten impeachment over the issue. "This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us. My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective," Scott told a local town hall, according to West Ashley Patch.
"There are a lot of things people say, 'Are you going to impeach the president over that?' — No. But this? This is catastrophic," Scott said. "This jeopardizes the credibility of our nation if one man can usurp the entire system set up by our founding fathers over something this significant."