DES MOINES, IOWA (May 24, 2023) — Attorney General Brenna Bird joined eighteen other states in a letter opposing President Joe Biden’s efforts to misuse the Fourteenth Amendment to single-handedly and unconstitutionally raise the federal debt ceiling.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last month to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a first-ever federal government-debt default, but the bill was shot down in the Democrat-controlled Senate and opposed by President Biden. Amid ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations, Biden now claims that he has the authority to raise the debt ceiling without any approval from Congress. Biden’s own Secretary of Treasury said such an unprecedented move would trigger a “constitutional crisis.”

This never-before-seen interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment grossly expands the President’s power. Not only does this power grab let the President print money with no oversight, but it opens the door for the President to raise taxes and stop spending in the future with the excuse of avoiding default.

“Biden’s claim that he can invoke the Fourteenth Amendment is nothing more than a purely partisan power grab,” said AG Bird. “He has backed himself into a corner by failing to negotiate with Congress. Now, Biden is considering violating our Constitution in the face of a quickly approaching deadline. He can't just ignore the law and wave a magic wand to make the debt disappear. We must hold Biden accountable and enforce the Constitution.”

The Constitution states that Congress has the exclusive authority to tax, spend, and borrow money on the credit of the United States. AG Bird joined the letter to call on Biden to follow the law and allow Congress to do its job or face legal ramifications.

Iowa joined eighteen other states in the Tennessee-led letter.

Read the full letter here.

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