Speaking Monday morning in Washington, Obama’s top economic advisors shot down the idea that President Obama could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to act. “Only Congress has the authority to borrow,” Jason Furman, Chair of Obama’s Council of Economic advisors told Politico’s Mike Allen.
In recent weeks, several liberal bloggers and commentators have floated the theory that President Obama could use provisions in the 14th Amendment or other measures to simply raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. One of the more fevered ideas mentioned is that Obama could order the Treasury to mint a $1 trillion coin. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently spoke favorably about the unilateral move, giving the theories political credibility.
Furman rejected those ideas, saying we couldn’t have a situation where “one set of lawyers” thinks the move is legal and another set who doesn’t. Gene Sperling, Chair of the National Economic Council, said such a move would create “just as much uncertainty” as a default and threaten the markets and the nation’s credit-worthiness.
Furman and Sperling were speaking at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast speaker series, which is sponsored by Bank of America.