President Obama’s speech to the nation Monday night, August 1st:
“My fellow Americans. Tonight I have signed an order raising the debt ceiling for the next two years. I have taken this extraordinary step because I had no other choice. My duties under our Constitution include being commander-in-chief of our armed forces. Our forces are presently engaged in two long wars as well as hostilities in North Africa. I have taken a solemn oath to ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ our Constitution. To jeopardize in any way the well being of our troops, especially while in conflict, to endanger their pay and the housing and care of their families, to place in doubt our ability to pay for the care of the wounded, to place in doubt all the logistical support armies in the field depend on, would not only be unconscionable, it would be unconstitutional.
“My counsel and some of the finest Constitutional scholars in the land have expressed ambivelence about this step. There will be time for them, and our judicial branch, to debate, and quite possibly overrule, my decision. But that will take time and we do not have time. Lives are at stake. I know with certainty that at least one segment of American society, the parents and loved ones of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines serving abroad, will understand and hopefully support this extraordinary action.
“This must be made clear: I do not support any notion of what some have called an ‘imperial presidency’ or executive authority that unbalances our Constitutional balance of powers. But when Congress cannot or will not act, and when the lives of our forces in conflict are at stake, I must exercise the full responsibilities of the office I have undertaken to execute. I simply have no other choice. And I fully expect those Justices of our Supreme Court who have previously defended extraordinary executive power to understand and appreciate the necessity of this action in our nation’s security interest.
“No American is more confident than I in our elected representatives resuming their legislative responsibilities. When extreme passions are spent, and angers and frustrations at our purposefully convoluted democratic process run their inevitable course, Congress will once again do its duty. And to all those in various movements and the media who find it convenient to blame ‘Washington’ for our troubles, let me remind you that the President and everyone in Congress were elected by a majority of the voters in the nation or in their respective States and districts. We are you. And you are us. We are here because you sent us here. And neither a single individual nor small group of zealots should or will dominate our process or dictate the national interest. No single group should or will have its way.
“I close tonight with this prayer: God in heaven protect our troops, the dedicated young men and women who defend our country. Be with them and guide and protect them and all those they defend in foreign lands. Bring them home safe…and soon. And as you do, dear God, please continue to bless this land, even when we have not deserved your blessing.”