Bill Clinton Would Just Ignore the Debt Ceiling

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, right, speaks while Timothy Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, listens during the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, June 30, 2011. Clinton will welcome more than 700 business leaders, politicians and nonprofit association executives to Chicago during the two-day meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. Photographer: Frank Polich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, right, speaks while Timothy Geithner, U.S. treasury secretary, listens during the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, June 30, 2011. Clinton will welcome more than 700 business leaders, politicians and nonprofit association executives to Chicago during the two-day meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. Photographer: Frank Polich/Bloomberg via Getty Images Photo: Bloomberg/2011 Bloomberg

While it appears that the Obama administration isn't considering the possibility of using some mostly forgotten clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment to just ignore the existence of the debt ceiling, former president Bill Clinton says he would do it "without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me” if a deal with Congress can't be reached.


Sharply criticizing Congressional Republicans in an exclusive Monday evening interview with The National Memo, Clinton said, “I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.”

Lifting the debt ceiling “is necessary to pay for appropriations already made,” he added, “so you can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”

Of course, Clinton never faced such a scenario while in office, because congressional Republicans were too intimidated by his vast persuasive abilities:

“I think [the Gingrich Republicans] figured I’d be smart enough to explain to the American people that they were refusing to pay for the expenses they had voted for when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were president. And that would make ‘em look bad.”

This was back when Republicans cared about looking bad.

Exclusive Bill Clinton Interview: I Would Use Constitutional Option To Raise Debt Ceiling And "Force The Courts To Stop Me" [National Memo]