Mark Lillis reports:
Rep. Hoyer endorses 14th Amendment option as a last-resort solution: President Obama should invoke the 14th Amendment to hike the debt ceiling unilaterally as a last resort to prevent a government default, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday.
"It's arguably his power to do so," Hoyer told MSNBC.
"Very frankly, if it came down to his looking default in the eye on Tuesday or taking this action, as President Clinton said, better to take the action and find out later that perhaps he went beyond his authority but at least protected the credibility of the United States of America," he said.
The remarks align Hoyer with a number of other House Democratic leaders, who are urging Obama to invoke the Constitution to prevent a government default if Congress fails to raise the debt limit before an Aug. 2 deadline.
First of all, unless something really weird happens--like the Treasury prepaying an extra $10 billion to somebody before it has to--it's not August 3 but rather August 10. Why Geithner and Obama keep saying August 2 I have no idea: still saying August 2 seems a way to completely and permanently blow your credibility.
Second, it's not that nothing bad happens until some drop-dead date happens and then something very, very bad indeed happens. Bad things are happening now as a result of the debt-ceiling crisis--and, with the economy as weak as it is, these aren't bad things we should be letting happen. The bad things that happen will get gradually worse as time passes, but if it is good to find a technical fix on August 2 it is better to find a technical fix and announce it on July 29, and still better to have announced a technical fix on July 1, if not June 1.
Obama is not the big bad actor here. The biggest bad actor is the Republican Party. The second biggest bad actor is the "opinions of shape of earth differ" press corps. But in failing to be a proper steward of the economy and avoid creating pointless risk and fear, Obama has not done well at all here.
The appropriate time to pull whatever technical fix Obama has in his pocket out is not August 2, but rather this morning.