With the debt ceiling deadline less than one week away, it's clear President Obama may have to go to extreme measures to get Congress to raise the nation's borrowing authority. But how far is he willing to go?
House Democrats are urging the president to invoke the 14th Amendment, which reads in part that the validity of the public debt can't be questioned, to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling if Congress can't come up with a plan before the August 2nd deadline. But the White House has taken a firm stance on the matter saying the president does not have the authority to do so.
Rep. James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, said Wednesday if the president is presented with a short term debt ceiling extension, he should veto it and sign an executive order, backing it up by using the portion of the 14th amendment that states the validity of the United States debt shall not be questioned.
But the White House has been adamant about not utilizing the 14th amendment to solve this issue, saying the "esoteric constitutional argument" is not the answer.
"There are no off-ramps," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday. "There's no way around this. There's no escape." He reiterated that it's not the president, but Congress, who has the authority to raise the debt ceiling and encouraged members of Congress to act accordingly.
When asked by a reporter why the president couldn't just raise the limit and then challenge people to sue him, Carney responded "I know that's appealing in some ways...but it's not a plausible way to address this problem."
So if the president won't consider invoking the 14th amendment, would he at least consider going to congressional leaders' turf to continue the negotiations? At first, Carney seemed to indicate a visit by the president to Capitol Hill wouldn't do much for the negotiations.
"I don't think the problem here has been a lack of face to face action between the president of the United States and the responsible leaders of congress," said Carney. But a few minutes later, he left the door open hinting it could happen.
"If that's what it takes, then that's where we'll go...but we need a willingness to compromise."