“The president can use his presidential power and authority to sign an executive order getting rid of the debt ceiling so that constitutionally we make good on our debt obligations,” said Harkin, referring to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that the “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.” 

Some observers of the debt-limit debate have suggested that clause empowers the president to raise the debt ceiling without congressional input.

“It is deeply regrettable that [the president] preemptively took this option off the table,” concluded Harkin.