WASHINGTON -- While some have asserted that the debt limit might be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, and therefore President Obama does not need congressional approval to raise it, Republicans have been quick to express skepticism over the idea. On Tuesday, a Republican congressman went a step further, saying that if Obama were to use that argument to bypass Congress on the issue, it would be an impeachable offense.
"This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us. My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective," said Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) at a meeting sponsored by the Tea Party group LowCountry 9.12 Project on Tuesday, first reported by Lindsay Street on Summerville Patch.
His comments were met with enthusiastic applause.
"There are a lot of things people say, 'Are you going to impeach the president over that?' -- No. But this? This is catastrophic," continued Scott. "This jeopardizes the credibility of our nation if one man can usurp the entire system set up by our founding fathers over something this significant."
Obama doesn't appear to be looking at ways to "usurp congressional oversight" on the debt ceiling. During his Twitter town hall on Wednesday, the president was asked whether he would consider invoking the 14th Amendment to pay government obligations if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling.
Obama did not rule out such an option, but he did insist that the situation should not get to a place where such drastic measures would be needed.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has also said he's not aware of any White House lawyers looking into the issue, although last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner mentioned the clause in the 14th Amendment that states U.S. public debt "shall not be questioned."
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) told The Huffington Post he thought the whole issue was "silly." "I think it's interesting to talk about, but I don't think it's sustainable as a legitimate position," he said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), meanwhile, has called the 14th Amendment solution "crazy talk."
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