After initially declaring his own party’s debt ceiling proposal unconstitutional, according to one report Friday afternoon, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) quickly clarified his position in a statement issued by his office to TPM.
“I strongly support the House Republican leadership’s proposal to link the debt ceiling increase to passage of a budget by the Senate which has gone 1360 days without passing a blueprint for federal spending,” Issa said. “While the 27th Amendment prohibits Congress from varying its own pay within a given Congress, as I noted in my interview it can certainly withhold pay.”
In an article Friday afternoon, Roll Call quoted Issa as saying of the proposal simply, “That’s unconstitutional.” House Republican leaders had unveiled their new debt ceiling proposal Friday morning,
Constitutional scholars have raised questions about the validity of the proposal, which would raise the country’s borrowing limit for three months and withhold pay from lawmakers until their chamber passes a budget. Republican leadership aides insist that the proposed legislation would pass muster under the 27th Amendment.
Issa gave a nod to the constitutional complexities in his statement: “I have not read the legislative text of the ‘No Budget, No Pay’ proposal and how it approaches historically difficult questions about Congressional compensation. I would note that there has even been legal action taken challenging the current system that gives Members of Congress an automatic pay-raise.”
Nonetheless, Issa said he expected any of the constitutional issues to be resolved and that he would support the proposal. “I have been an advocate for the strategy of linking a debt ceiling increase to passage of a budget as an effective way of forcing President Obama to focus on our nation’s long term fiscal situation. I expect the final proposal brought before the House will have resolved any constitutional questions and that it will have my support.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.