Retired Pols Say "Screw the Debt Ceiling"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 19 2011 5:00 PM

Retired Pols Say "Screw the Debt Ceiling"

Joe Conasan gets Bill Clinton on the record for the "Constitutional option" of ignoring the debt limit.

Sharply criticizing Congressional Republicans in an exclusive Monday evening interview with The National Memo, Clinton said, “I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.”
Lifting the debt ceiling “is necessary to pay for appropriations already made,” he added, “so you can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”
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My colleague Annie Lowrey talked to several former Treasury secretaries, and a few of them agree with her. But Tim Geithner doesn't! He's ruled this option out.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.