If America is faced with a national default because of Republican obstruction against raising the debt ceiling, in my opinion President Obama has authority under Article 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to act unilaterally if necessary to avoid a debt ceiling-induced default. If default is the only other option, the president should exercise this authority.

Unilateral presidential action to avoid a debt-ceiling default is the second worst option, and should be avoided if at all possible. Unilateral action sends an awful message to financial markets. While I believe such action would be reluctantly approved by a narrow Supreme Court majority after an inevitable challenge, judicial approval is not certain. Bipartisan and comprehensive budget, spending and revenue negotiations on all outstanding issues is a far more desirable outcome.

Former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump hiring Marc Kasowitz as personal lawyer for Russia probe: reports Why Trump might hire an outside lawyer on Russia OPINION: Trump's budget will supercharge America's economy MORE has championed the option of presidential authority if needed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also championed this authority. And now Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? Racial representation: A solution to inequality in the People’s House MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe GOP must fight against the Durbin amendment's price controls It’s time to rethink prisoner re-entry Congress urges Trump administration to release public transit funding MORE (Ill.), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCongress urges Trump administration to release public transit funding Overnight Tech: FCC begins rolling back net neutrality | Sinclair deal puts heat on regulators | China blames US for 'Wanna Cry' attack Sasse dominates Twitter with Schumer photo, 'reefer' caption MORE (N.Y.) and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty MurrayPatty MurrayGOP skeptical of Trump plan for paid parental leave Dems demand answers on report that admin tried to trade ObamaCare payments Dem senators push for probe of Sessions over Comey firing MORE (Wash.) have supported this authority in a recent letter. I applaud them all.

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President Obama is right in stating that America is not a deadbeat nation and that Republicans should stop holding the good faith and credit of the United States hostage. I would add that America must stop acting like a banana republic on matters of budgets, spending and taxes. These constant last-minute fiascos, the abuse by both parties of creating intense fear among Americans as a political tactic and the constant dangers of both real and self-induced catastrophes are unworthy of the United States and must end.

President Obama has expressed doubt about unilateral presidential action. To the degree he prefers to avoid this option, he is right. To the degree he may be forced to choose between unilateral action and default, he should state as soon as possible, as firmly as possible, that unilateral action may be the second worst choice but default would be, by far, the worst choice.

The proper solution is a bipartisan budget deal that is significant and moves far beyond the debt-ceiling issue. The president won the 2012 election. Senate Democrats were huge winners in the 2012 election. House Democrats gained seats and won more national popular votes than House Republicans in the last election. Democrats have won three out of the last four national elections. So any bipartisan agreement should be tilted toward the Democratic position.

At the same time, all House Republicans also won their seats in the 2012 election, which gives them some moral and political right to some concessions from Democrats, in proportion to the will of voters, expressed in elections, to achieve an agreement.

The president and Democrats should avoid the danger of hubris and overreaching. The Republicans must end the use or threats of legislative blackmail, extortion, obstruction, hostage-taking and willingness to force a default that could cause a crash because of an extremism and distemper that threatens to make the GOP a minority party for a generation.

Bipartisanship is preferable to constitutional confrontation. But if the only alternatives are to submit to legislative blackmail by Republicans or accept a disastrous national default, the authority of the president is constitutionally locked and loaded. The president would be supported by a large majority of voters if he chooses to use it, and if necessary, he should.