Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that President Biden invoking the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress and lift the debt ceiling to avoid default is not likely legally sound.
“It doesn’t seem like something that could be appropriately used in these circumstances, given the legal uncertainty around it and given the tight timeframe we’re on,” Ms. Yellen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “My devout hope is that Congress will raise the debt ceiling, and we will pay all of our bills.”
Talks have stalled with just days until an expected June 1 deadline. Mr. Biden will host House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the White House on Monday.
Earlier Sunday, Mr. Biden floated the idea of invoking the 14th Amendment but said he prefers to strike a bipartisan deal.
“I’m looking at the 14th Amendment as to whether or not we have the authority — I think we have the authority,” he said. “The question is, could it be done and invoked in time that it would not be appealed, and as a consequence past the date in question and still default on the debt.”
If the ceiling isn’t raised in time, “some bills will go unpaid,” Ms. Yellen warned.
“We take the debt ceiling seriously as a constraint on our ability to pay bills that are coming due. And my assumption is that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, there will be hard choices to make about what bills go unpaid,” she said.
• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at email@example.com.
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