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The Left Will Drag Out Any Law, However Irrelevant, to Push Their Agenda

There is a growing tendency among progressives, and the left in general, to go out and find some law, no matter how old or obscure, and claim it allows Congress or the president to do whatever it is progressives want to do. Even though no one ever thought that particular law provided that power.
Progressives then go to the media, which never asks any serious questions anymore, who echoes the claim.
That was how progressives and President Joe Biden made the case he had the authority to cancel $400 billion in student loan debt. And it’s how progressives hope to get the president to ignore negotiating with Republicans over the federal debt limit by claiming he has the power to borrow and spend more money under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
He does not have that power, and the U.S. Supreme Court will almost certainly shut down that effort. Whereupon the progressives will likely assert the president has the right to ignore the Court and go looking for some justification to defend their claim.
By way of background, the 14th Amendment was part of the three Civil War amendments (including the 13th and 15th Amendments). Section 4 is the relevant part. It reads:
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.
However, progressives habitually delete the middle of the amendment. They simply say: “The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”
Of course, that middle section is critical. It’s citing costs relating to the “insurrection or rebellion” (i.e., the Civil War).
Second, notice that the amendment has nothing to do with the debt limit. It is merely asserting that the federal government will not renege on its “public debt.” But no one is talking about reneging on the public debt. The debate is over increasing the federal debt limit—and how to slow down the spending.
Third, the “public debt” is not the same as all of the government’s obligations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that unless the debt limit is raised the government won’t be able to pay “all of its bills.” But “all of its bills” is not the same as the public debt—just as you likely have bills that are not debt.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, the government receives more than enough money to pay interest on the public debt, which is the issue. The Treasury would just have to prioritize its spending.
We hope Biden and Republicans can come to an agreement. But if they don’t the 14th Amendment won’t bail out progressives and the president.