It is my personal conviction that the people from the Golden State should demand not only a mental evaluation of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, but also a civics test to see if she is smarter than a fifth grader when it comes to the U.S. Constitution. There are a myriad of reasons for this, but the latest reason comes in the form of her weekly press briefing in which she displayed a very disturbing understanding of the Constitution. Pelosi attempted to suggest that the President could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling and cited the 11th Amendment.....then asked if it was the 14th Amendment...then just chucked it all and declared, "Whatever it is, I'm with the Constitution."
Remember as you watch this that this woman was not only at one time the 60th Speaker of the House of Representatives, but she has also served, or rather been a part of, Congress for over 25 years.
She says that part of the reason for talks not working out over the fiscal cliff issue and raising of the debt ceiling would be if there was an "anti-government ideology on the part of the Republicans to undermine any of the good will that is there."
The reporter then followed up with a question asking whether there was two agreements or one agreement, which he referred to as "one bargain."
Pelosi said she could not understand, so the reporter asked, "The fiscal cliff, debt ceiling....are they two separate (inaudible)?"
Her response is enough to make you want to smash your computer. Pelosi said,
"I would hope not. I would hope that, well....I'm wit hthe 11th Amendment, so....Is it the 11th Amendment that....14th, is it? Whatever it is, I'm with the Constitution of the United States."
First, here's the text of the 11th Amendment:
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
OK, so that has nothing to do with what is being addressed here. The 11th Amendment forbids a person to sue a state in which they do not live.
Now the text of the 14th Amendment:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. 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. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
The problem that Pelosi has in this, and Barack Obama as well, is that while many, including former President Bill Clinton, have argued that the President has the authorization by the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling himself, apart from Congress, nothing in the amendment says that. In fact, Section Five is clear in that is states the Congress has power to enforce the provisions of the article, not the President.
Furthermore, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution is clear as to who can tax and who can spend:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
The President does not have anything to do with this. This is all on Congress. I bring up the President simply because with gridlock in Congress, it may be that either one of two things happen: Barack Obama tries to un-Constitutionally raises the debt ceiling or John Boehner caves to the demands of Democrats (I'm guessing this will be the more likely.)
Pelosi went on to say, “Really, we have the full faith and credit of the United States. You mentioned the debt ceiling and the rest, and again, if we all go to the table with good faith, budget agreements have been made over and over again.”
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have one now,” she added. “Unless there is an anti-government ideology on the part of the Republicans to undermine any of the good will that is there.”
“If you’re a progressive, as I am, you don’t see any value in a big budget deficit,” she said. “Because the interest on the debt alone—the debt service—it robs from investments that could be made or deficit reduction that could take place. So, we all know that we have to reduce the deficit.”
“And one of the ways we got here were tax cuts for the wealthy that did not produce jobs,” Pelosi continued. “So let’s not go back to a place or continue on a path that got us into this fix in the first place, but let us go to the table of good faith that we want something to happen because I do think that if nothing happens the consequences could be great.”
I agree, let's not continue on a path like the one we're on. That means that we should not be raising the debt ceiling, that we should begin real cuts to the federal spending that is out of control and we should continue tax cuts for all Americans.
Yes the Congress has the power to put Americans into debt and that debt is quite legitimate my friends. They also have the power to tax us. This is why character counts. It is also why those in Congress should not only know what Congress has the power to do, but also have self restraint and a moral compass when it comes to spending. Sadly, many who represent us now, like Nancy Pelosi, have neither.