Emperor Malarkey I

President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House on May 12, 2023. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Do you know what Joe Biden has in common with Kevin McCarthy? 

They both were elected. 

That means what it means—nothing more, to be sure, but nothing less, either. 

President Biden says he will not negotiate with congressional Republicans over a bill to increase the debt ceiling. This is preposterous and indefensible, for several reasons: For one thing, taxing, spending, and borrowing are inherently congressional powers, not presidential powers. For another thing, Joe Biden is president—not king. The idea that a president would refuse to negotiate with Congress over congressional action is nonsensical from a constitutional point of view and autocratic from a political point of view. Congress is not there to do the president’s bidding—if anything, it is the other way around: The president is charged with the faithful execution of the laws Congress passes, not with barking orders at the branch of government that is actually charged by the Constitution with responsibility for this issue. 

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