Political Correction

Rep. Steve King Threatens Impeachment Over Debt Ceiling Fight

July 25, 2011 10:35 am ET - by Jamison Foser

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) threatens impeachment of President Obama if congressional failure to increase the debt ceiling leads to the government's failure to make debt payments:

Rep. Steve King tweet

Earlier this month, conservative writer and activist David Frum — a former Bush administration speechwriter — warned that if President Obama uses the "constitutional option" to issue bonds in the absence of a legislative increase of the debt ceiling, Republicans will "commence impeachment proceedings":

Public talk of the "constitutional option" creates a third even more dangerous incentive:

It opens the door to a future in which the president and the secretary of the Treasury issue bonds over the refusal of the House of Representatives. Yet Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution provides that "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." Bonds raise revenue. You don't need a crystal teacup to foresee how the Tea Party will react to a bond issue in disregard of the debt ceiling. They will accuse the president of trashing the U.S. Constitution, and somebody will commence impeachment proceedings.

And, sure enough, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) said he would consider such action “an impeachable act,” and Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) added that others in the House Republican caucus have discussed impeachment. 

So, if the president invokes the 14th Amendment to continue paying the government's bills in the event of congressional failure to increase the debt ceiling, House Republicans will try to impeach him. And if the government doesn't make debt payments, House Republicans will try to impeach him. (If history is any guide, even if President Obama eventually manages to balance the budget, House Republicans will try to impeach him then, too.)

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