House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said President Barack Obama should avoid a battle with Congress and just use the Constitution to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.
The California Democrat told CBS' "Face the Nation" that if she were president, she would invoke the 14th Amendment and raise the limit on her own. The amendment states that "the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned," which supporters say enables the president to raise the debt ceiling without input from Congress in order to ensure payments to bondholders are met.
"We always passed the debt ceiling when President Bush was president, as he was incurring these massive debts, and the Republicans weren't saying 'boo' at the time," Pelosi said of the expected February standoff. "If I were president, I would use the 14th Amendment, which says that the debt of the United States will always be paid."
She continued, "I would just go do it. But the Congress has incurred much of this debt. And so what are you saying, we incurred it but we're not going to pay it? If you want to say, 'We are not going to do it so much in the future,' well that's another thing. But you can't say, 'I'm not paying my past debts.'"
The White House in December ruled out invoking the 14th Amendment to solve the debt-ceiling crisis, saying such an approach was off the table.
"This administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling -- period," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.