Yellen on Debt Ceiling: Biden Invoking 14th Amendment ‘Not Good’ But Possible Emergency Option

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that President Joe Biden invoking the 14th Amendment to address the debt ceiling was a “not good” emergency option that could cause a “constitutional crisis.”

Anchor George Stephanopoulos said, “Of course, there’s always the chance for this negotiation that you don’t reach a deal, and then it comes back to the president. He said on Friday night that he is not ready. The 14th Amendment that it should not be questioned. And the implications would be the United States would continue to issue debt, saying it is unconstitutional not to. The president says he is not ready to do that, but it does not seem like he took it off the table. Is it still a possibility?

Yellen said, “Our priority is to make sure that Congress does its job. There is no way to protect our financial system in our economy other than Congress doing its job and raising the debt ceiling and enabling us to pay our bills, and we should not get to the point where we need to consider whether the President can go on issuing debt. This would be a constitutional crisis.”

Stephanopoulos said, “But is it on the table? Is it something that could be considered? You said there is no way this could be done without Congress. Is that a hard and fast decision?”

Yellen said, “All I want to say is that it is Congress’ job to do this. If we fail to do it, we will have an economic and financial catastrophe, and there is no action that President Biden and the U.S. Treasury can take to prevent that catastrophe.”

Stephanopoulos asked, “I’m still not exactly clear on whether it’s on the table or off the table. Is it a break glass in case of emergency option?”

Yellen said, “Look, I don’t. I don’t want to consider emergency options. What’s important is that members of Congress recognize what their responsibility is and avert what will surely be, regardless of how it’s handled, what option is used to handle it, an economic and financial catastrophe.”

Stephanopoulos asked, “It sounds like you’re saying you don’t want to, but you may have to.”

Yellen replied, “Well, what to do if Congress fails to meet its responsibility, there is simply no good options. And the ones that you’ve listed are among the not good options.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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