Top U.S. Democratic Senate leaders have urged President Barack Obama to consider measures that would bypass congressional approval to make sure the country does not default on it debts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his leadership team said in a letter to the president that he should use “any lawful steps” under his authority to “ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis.”
They urged the president to act unilaterally if Republicans insist on a debt limit extension that is accompanied by unreasonable spending cuts.
Some analysts and Democrats say the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the authority to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling without congressional action. The amendment states the validity of government debt shall not be questioned.
The Obama administration has said in the past it would not take such an action.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier this week “there is no alternative to Congress raising the debt ceiling.”
President Obama has vowed not to negotiate with Congress about raising the debt ceiling.
The U.S. government is set to run out of money sometime in February. It will need to have the borrowing limit increased or face an unprecedented circumstance – running out of money and defaulting on some of its financial obligations.
Republican lawmakers say they plan to use the borrowing dilemma to try to win sharp concessions from President Obama to cut government spending.
Republican Senator Deb Fischer from Nebraska said in the Republican weekly address that “the problem is not that the American people are taxed too little; it's that the federal government spends too much.”