Although that provision was originally meant to ensure payment of Union debts after the Civil War, those advocating its use in the current debate are challenging the constitutionality of congressional efforts to limit borrowing to pay bills.
Obama's not buying into that argument — and says Congress must act to raise the congressionally set $16.4-trillion debt ceiling. If that ceiling is not raised by sometime in February or early March, the government will not be able to pay all its bills.
"America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they've already racked up," he said.
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