There’s been speculation that President Joe Biden may use the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to raise the debt ceiling without getting approval from Congress.

The amendment is best known for granting U.S. citizenship to former slaves after the Civil War, but it includes a provision stating that “the validity of the public debt…shall not be questioned.” Some legal scholars argue that the language gives the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own. U.S. Rep. Mark Alford, R-Missouri, said that would be the wrong approach.

“Look, we need to do some other things,” Alford told Missourinet affiliate KDRO in Sedalia. “We need to defund the 87,000 IRS agents that President Biden is trying to sic on the American people. We need to reclaim a lot of unspent COVID money that has not left the federal treasury, U.S. Treasury, and gone to the states yet.”

Democrats in both the U.S. House and Senate are urging the president to invoke the 14th Amendment, while Republicans are opposing the move and continuing to push for spending cuts to go along with raising the ceiling. Alford accused Democrats of, “trying to set our country on fire.”

“I don’t think they want a deal,” he said. “I think that they want to create chaos and crisis once again in America and try to force the Republicans into something that is not good for America. Now they’re even talking about tax increases…that wasn’t part of the original starting point in negotiations.”

The debt ceiling has to be raised by June 1st, which is next week, or else the U.S. government risks defaulting on its debt and starting another recession.

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