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A union of government employees on Monday sued Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and President Biden to try to stop them from complying with the law that limits the government’s total debt, which the lawsuit contends is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit comes just weeks before the government could default on the federal debt if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit. Financial markets have become increasingly nervous about the potential for default, with economists warning that a failure to raise the debt limit could trigger a global financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Biden will meet with the top Republicans and Democrats in Congress to seek a potential breakthrough. The two sides remain far apart. Republicans have demanded steep spending cuts as the price of agreeing to raise the debt limit. Biden has argued that the debt ceiling, which applies to borrowing the government has already done, shouldn’t be used as leverage in budget talks.

The lawsuit, filed by the National Association of Government Employees, says that if Yellen abides by the debt limit once it becomes binding, possibly next month, she would have to choose which federal obligations to actually pay. Some analysts have argued that the government could prioritize interest payments on Treasury securities. That would ensure that the United States wouldn’t default on its securities, which have long been regarded as the safest investments in the world and are vital to global financial transactions.

But under the Constitution, the lawsuit argues, the president and Treasury secretary have no authority to decide which payments to make because the Constitution grants spending power to Congress. Doing so, it contends, would violate the Constitution’s separation of powers.

“Nothing in the Constitution or any judicial decision interpreting the Constitution,” the lawsuit states, “allows Congress to leave unchecked discretion to the President to exercise the spending power vested in the legislative branch by canceling, suspending, or refusing to carry out spending already approved by Congress.”

White House and Treasury Department spokespeople declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

The NAGE represents about 75,000 government employees who it says are at risk of being laid off or losing pay and benefits should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling. The debt limit, currently $31.4 trillion, was reached in January. But Yellen has since used various accounting measures to avoid breaching it.

Last week, Yellen warned that the debt limit would become binding as early as June 1, much earlier than many analyses had previously predicted, because tax receipts have come in lower than projected.

Laurence Tribe, a law professor at Harvard University, suggested that “it is possible that the Treasury Department would welcome the suit” because it expresses the view that “the ceiling is not a permissible bargaining tool for Congress to employ because it simply threatens to destroy the economy and hold the president hostage.”

Tribe has written a column in the New York Times expressing support for the idea that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. White House aides have explored the notion of having the president invoke the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says the “validity” of the public debt “shall not be questioned.”

How fast the lawsuit may advance through the legal system depends, in part, on the judge, Tribe noted. ”It could move extremely quickly,” he said. “It’s quite hard to predict.”

Richard Stearns, a federal judge who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, has been assigned to the case.

Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, suggested that it may be “up to the Supreme Court to determine whether there is a constitutional option to resolve this hostage crisis.”

“If Congress is going to demonstrate this propensity for hostage taking,” Eisen said, then “a reallocation of authority in this dimension away from Congress” may be called for.

On Sunday, Yellen said there were “no good options” for the United States to avoid an economic “calamity” if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. Economists say the standoff has distorted financial markets. Since Yellen warned a week ago that the government could default on its debt as early as June 1, interest rates on one-month Treasury bills have been shooting higher. They reached 5.35% Monday, up from 4.12% a week earlier – an unusually sharp move.

That suggested that investors were shunning the one-month bills out of concern that they could suffer from a default. The one-month yield, in an unusual move, now exceeds the rates on all longer-dated Treasuries, including 10-year notes, which yield 3.49%. Typically, borrowers demand higher rates to lock up their money for longer periods. Rates on the 10-year have fallen because investors expect a recession later this year that would force the Federal Reserve to cut its benchmark rate.

“Markets are beginning to aggressively price in a potential default,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at tax advisory firm RSM. “The timing of an economic and financial crisis caused by the political authority could not be any worse.”

In the wake of three large bank failures in the past two months, Brusuelas, like many economists, thinks many banks are pulling back on lending to bolster their finances, a trend that could weaken the economy.

“A partial or full default would exacerbate those trends and result in a pullback in spending and investment by households and firms, as well as an increase in unemployment,” Brusuelas said. “It would almost surely tip the economy into a full-blown recession.”


This is the usual FRightwingnut game vs. the DINOs. The House Repukes have no budget as usual. The whole debt ceiling BS got started around 1900. The Constitution doesn’t even have a debt ceiling plus the US. coins its own currency. Reliable sources are reporting that these jokers have already backed off on SS, Medicare, and the War/MICC cuts. Shame the MSM is too corrupted to point it out. 💩💩💩💩💩


The only 2 plans they(GQP) have is to take the $$$ from the National Russia(NRA) Assc and preserve the billionaire tax cuts, Other wise their as useless as screen doors on a submarine (to be polite)



Illinois is poised to become the first state to punish public institutions that ban books.

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker has said he supports a House bill that would withhold state funding from any of the state’s 1,600 public or school libraries that remove books from their shelves. It passed in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday, and Pritzker is expected to sign the legislation.

“In Illinois, we don’t hide from the truth, we embrace it and lead with it,” the governor said when the bill was first presented. “Banning books is a devastating attempt to erase our history and the authentic stories of many.”

The final version of House Bill 2789 passed the state Senate 39 to 19 after it was approved in March by the House on a 66 to 39 vote.

The impetus for the legislation came from newly elected Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, whose office oversees library systems and their funding. Giannoulias, a Democrat, said he couldn’t fathom that book banning is happening in 2023.

“It is so blatant, and so dangerous. I was blown away,” he told POLITICO.

Efforts to curb reading materials are “about restricting the freedom of ideas that certain individuals disagree with and that certain individuals think others should have access to,” he said.

Giannoulias says this legislation is the only one of its kind.

Illinois doles out some $62 million to libraries around the state each year, according to Giannoulias’ office.

“All these efforts to curb reading materials have absolutely nothing to do with books. They are about restricting the freedom of ideas that certain individuals disagree with and that certain individuals think others should have access to,” Giannoulias told POLITICO.

Republican lawmakers who oppose the legislation have argued that their goal is to make sure books distributed in public schools and libraries are age appropriate.

Republican state Sen. Jason Plummer on Wednesday called the legislation an example of Democrats “pushing an ideology on Illinois citizens, regardless of where they live or what they believe.”

He said it was “offensive to take away public funds from people whose taxes paid for these grants.”

Other Republicans raised questions about the bill possibly allowing libraries that don’t allow drag shows to reserve library meeting rooms to be penalized, which sponsors say are decisions that should be decided by librarians, not community members who oppose such groups.

Giannoulias disagrees with the idea that locals would lose control, saying local librarians “have the educational and professional experience to determine what’s in circulation. Let them decide.”

The bill says that in order for public libraries, including in public schools and universities, to remain eligible for grant funding, they must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or adopt their own written statement prohibiting the banning of books.

A library that doesn’t certify either of the statements, or takes the next step of banning a book, will not be eligible for grant funding from the secretary of state, according to the secretary’s office.

Giannoulias proposed the idea of banning book bans during his campaign last year and then approached Democratic state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray about following through with legislation. She had a special interest because a group of parents at a high school in her district demanded a book about a nonbinary person coming out — “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe — be banned from the school district’s shelves. The parents called the book pornographic.

Members of the Proud Boys attended a school board meeting on the issue. After much debate, the book stayed, but the concerns lingered for Stava-Murray.

“The kids luckily stood up for the book. That community rallied around the kids,” Stava-Murray told POLITICO.



Very sad. So young.


Man, 38 years young. I bet it was the Big C. Makes oldies like me stop and reflect. 😔