Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will allow the nation to default on its debts because it would violate the Constitution, Sen. Mike Lee tells Newsmax.
He also says the Obama administration’s decision to freeze death benefits for the families of fallen soldiers is “tragic” — and part of an effort to make the government shutdown as painful as possible.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Sen. Lee outlines the Republicans’ strategy to deal with the shutdown: “Last week the House passed something that would allow us to keep our active duty military personnel paid. It came over to the Senate and in a matter of minutes we passed it unanimously.”
“We need to start passing those and bit by bit we can get the government funded. We can get probably 98, 99 percent of the government funded and then we can focus on the issue where the real controversial points remain.”
Lee maintains that President Barack Obama does not have the power to raise the debt ceiling on his own, as some legal scholars have suggested.
“This is a law. It’s a law that has to be enacted by Congress,” he says. “We have a debt ceiling now and in order to raise it, Congress has to act.
“The 14th Amendment simply says that we have to honor the debts that we as a nation have incurred. But we’ve got more than enough money coming through the door every month to make sure that we pay the interest and principal owed on our national debt. The amendment does not give the president the power to raise the debt limit on his own.”
Lee has said that certain federal agencies have acted intentionally to cause undue hardship to make a political point. One of the worst examples is the decision to freeze death benefits for families of fallen soldiers.
“It’s tragic,” he says. “It’s embarrassing. It is probably the very best argument that anyone could make against Obamacare, or for that matter, against any other significant expansion of federal power.
“We’ve seen that this administration is willing to utilize the immense power of the federal government in order to make this shutdown as painful for the American people as it possibly can. It’s willing to use its own power against the people in order to procure a particular political advantage. That’s not acceptable.
“That is not a defensible position. It certainly isn’t sustainable, politically or otherwise, and he will come to regret it.”