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John Boehner and Paul Ryan's Clean Debt Limit Imperative: Raise and then Raze the Debt Ceiling (Part II)

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 26/10/2015 Victor Williams
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Paul Ryan is living large. John Boehner is ready to double-dip from the links. Too bad Uncle Sam is bust. Within days, our great nation will be unable to honor its Treasury bond obligations and without funds to issue payments for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans, national defense, federal courts, or any other federal programs. Since the debt ceiling was hit on March 16, 2015, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has been juggling the books ("extraordinary measures"). Treasury just scrubbed its regularly scheduled two-year note auction for October. The jig is up.
The Debt Limit Statute is Unconstitutional: Litigation Pending
This summer, the Government Accountability Office issued a shocking report detailing the substantial public and private costs resulting from Congress' 2001 and 2013 debt ceiling crisis. The GAO reported that 25 percent of all U.S. Treasury debt was degraded to "at risk" status. Meanwhile, the nation's leading legal scholars continue to agree that the debt limit statute patently violates the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment's Public Debt Clause is explicit: "The validity of the public debt of the United States...shall not be questioned."
Thus, as a holder of every type of Treasury security sold on, I sued in February 2014 to void the debt limit statute and prevent its enforcement. The debt limit causes current economic harm by devaluing my Treasury investments and degrading my bonds' low-risk profile. And I suffer noneconomic harm in emotional distress and worry regarding an investment that is supposed to be "risk-free" and constitutionally-secure. In an August 2015 Washington and Lee Law Review Online article, I detail the lawsuit's progress and I plea for other bondholders and one of the 50 states to join my litigation efforts. (Each of the 50 states has unique "standing" to go to federal court). The lawsuit is now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (Williams v. Lew No. 15-5065). My injuries, and my lawsuit, will continue even if the debt limit is raised. However, immediate congressional action is needed to avoid a sovereign debt default.
Only Inverse-Lame Duck John Boehner Has the Power.
As I argued in The Hill recently, John Boehner has unique power and responsibility as an "inverse lame duck." On his way out the House door, Speaker Boehner must put a bipartisan, clean debt limit bill on the floor. Surely 35 House GOP moderates can be found to join Democrats in avoiding a debt default. If not, the resulting economic Armageddon will be on the head of the Grand Old Party.
Victor Williams is an attorney in Washington D.C. and clinical assistant professor at Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. He founded to promote economic and social justice.

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