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Bill Clinton urges Obama to raise ceiling

July 19, 2011 at 10:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- Former President Bill Clinton says he would invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the national debt ceiling if Congress won't act.

Speaking to The National Memo Web site Monday, 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."

"If it came to that," he said, he would use the amendment to bypass Congress and "force the courts to stop me," The Hill reported. The post-Civil War amendment states: "The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned."

Clinton said then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich shied away from using the debt ceiling during their battles in the 1990s.

"The reason that raising the debt limit is so unpopular is that people think you're voting to keep deficit spending, instead of voting to honor obligations that were already incurred," Clinton said.

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