Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling “should be on the table” for President Joe Biden as he continues negotiating with Republicans to prevent a default on the nation’s debt.
The president plans to cut short his attendance at a dinner with other leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Japan for a briefing on the negotiations, according to CNN. Biden has already agreed to shorten his travels, canceling stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea to continue talks with congressional leaders.
Eleven progressive senators, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), wrote to Biden on Thursday, urging him to not give in to GOP demands and instead unilaterally raise the debt limit by invoking the constitutional amendment.
“While we cannot default on our debt, we also cannot allow the destructive Republican budget to be implemented,” the senators wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez echoed those sentiments, telling Politico Playbook: “I think it should be on the table. And I think that the grounds for it are legitimate.”
The 14th Amendment includes a section on government debt that says “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.”
Critics of this approach caution that the constitutional theory is untested and would very likely be challenged in court.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who has warned of catastrophic consequences if the U.S. doesn’t resolve the debt limit standoff before June 1, also has expressed skepticism about invoking the 14th Amendment.
“It’s legally questionable whether or not that’s a viable strategy,” Yellen said last week.
Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez also addressed the possibility of Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race. Asked if Democrats should hope for this scenario, Ocasio-Cortez appeared cautious.
“I don’t think we should ever be rooting for Trump in any situation,” she said. “2020 was not a blowout.”
Biden won the race by over 4 percentage points.
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that the Electoral College system means presidential outcomes often are decided “in a very small handful of states.”
“There are a lot of times that I think people overestimate Trump in certain areas,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But they still continue to underestimate Trump, I think, in his ability to carry a message and carry a base.”
Trump for now appears to be the GOP front-runner, even after he was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan over his role in a hush money payment scheme, and found liable for sexual abuse in a civil case brought by former columnist E. Jean Carroll. He also faces ongoing criminal probes involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and his mishandling of classified documents.