"Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that the Constitution may trump the debt ceiling, allowing the administration a way out of the default impasse.
Negotiators are considering gutting the social safety net in exchange for a vote to lift the debt ceiling. Grassley, in a conference call with local reporters, said that there may be another way out.
"There’s one thing that hasn’t been talked about yet, and I haven't checked on the constitutionality of it -- and I read the Constitution, but I don’t remember reading this -- but in the 14th amendment, there’s something that says something about the debt of the United States government shall be honored," Grassley said, according to a recording of the call. "The 14th Amendment includes a public debt clause that insists the obligations of the government 'shall not be questioned.'"
"So people are looking at the fact that maybe the debt ceiling bill that Congress presumably has to pass for the government to borrow more maybe is contrary to that constitutional provision, and that the administration may take out [loans] on their own -- just to borrow money -- and say that they can ignore the law," he said."