JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey joined a coalition of 19 state attorneys general in opposing President Biden’s attempt to unilaterally expand executive power to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval. This letter comes after President Biden asserted incorrectly that the 14th Amendment vests this authority into the executive branch.
“President Biden is yet again ignoring the blatant framework of our Constitution, which is the very bedrock of our nation, to satisfy his political agenda,” said Attorney General Bailey. “If not for the states, the federal government would run roughshod over our nation’s system of checks and balances. I will not stand by and allow the integrity of our nation to be eroded by a President who has no respect for the Constitution.”
In their letter, the attorneys general explain that the Constitution explicitly allows Congress the authority to tax, spend, and borrow money on the credit of the United States. These powers are specifically enumerated in the Constitution as belonging to Congress, and executive branch efforts to usurp those powers are not lawful.
The attorneys general write, “The power of the purse constitutes Congress’s strongest defense against a lawless executive. By giving credence to the idea that a President can unilaterally authorize new debt for the United States, you undermine the checks and balances that have defined the rule of law for over 200 years.”
The coalition of states does not attempt to dictate policy, but instead reminds the executive branch that the debt ceiling debate must be solved through the democratic process in accordance with the Constitution. The 14th Amendment does not allow the executive branch to ignore the law or the separation of powers inherent in the Constitution.
Joining Attorney General Bailey in directing the letter to President Biden are the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
The full letter can be read here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/letter-re-14a-and-debt-ceiling.pdf?sfvrsn=b1bc9f11_2