Graham, Senate Republicans reject 14th Amendment debt-ceiling option

Senate Republicans on Thursday introduced a resolution that flatly rejects the idea that President Obama is able to raise the debt ceiling on his own, without approval from Congress, under the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says, "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."


Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has argued that this language effectively authorizes the president to raise the debt ceiling by himself, since debt issued by the U.S. "shall not be questioned." This idea has been floated as one way around the debt-ceiling crisis if Republicans and Democrats can't reach an agreement to raise the ceiling by Aug. 2.

But the GOP resolution, S.Res. 226, attempts to close the door on this option. It says the debt limit was established by Congress in 1982, and if passed, would indicate Senate disapproval of the 14th Amendment strategy.

"[I]t is the Sense of the Senate that the President does not have the authority to ignore the statutory debt limit by ordering the Secretary of the Treasury to continue issuing debt on the full faith and credit of the United States," it reads.

The resolution was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and is co-sponsored by 12 other Republican senators.