, Salem, MA


September 24, 2013

Letter: More petty politics in Washington

To the editor:

It's a pity what's going on in Washington primarily to try to embarrass President Barack Obama or make him sweat over increasing the debt ceiling to fund our government functions.

In 1868, I believe, we did have some members of Congress who foresaw what could transpire when petty politics could cause havoc to our government's responsibility of paying its obligations as authorized by law, so they passed the 14th Amendment, which, among other aspects, authorizes the Executive Branch to bypass the Legislature.The amendment states the following: "The validity of the public debt of the United States authorized by law including debts for pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion shall not be questioned."

The Constitution thus places payments and debts owed for groups such as Social Security above the vagaries of congressional politics. That's as it should be to protect the American people against that which transpired in the House of Representatives on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, with passage of a bill to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act authorized by law under President Obama, our first African-American president.

Saul P Heller


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