The debt limit dates to 1939, and stems from earlier limits on borrowing that were meant to give the Treasury secretary more freedom from congressional oversight. But attempts to use the debt ceiling to extract budgetary concessions from the White House began as early as 1953.
Democrats have championed several other ways around a fight with Republicans. Some have urged the White House to use the 14th amendment to raise the limit unilaterally. Others have argued that the Treasury should issue trillion-dollar platinum coins to pay down the debt. But the administration has rejectedboth options.
On CNN Piers Morgan tonight: “We are 20 times more violent than the closest 1st world country…& Congress won’t do anything about it.”
They can act responsibly, and pay America’s bills; or they can act irresponsibly, and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.” —President Obama yesterday at the final press conference of his first term http://OFA.BO/MoNZ9p