Amendment XIV, Section 4 of the US Constitution says, in part:
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…. shall not be questioned.”
A sizable number of members of the House of Representatives having gone on record as committed to never agreeing to an increase in the debt ceiling (an increase required because of already existing public debt, already authorized by law), an argument could be made that these Members, by those statements and by the threat of such a vote, have violated their own oath of office in which they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
In the increasingly probable case that we reach the second of August with no agreement and no vote, perhaps that argument will be made by the President of the United States, when he announces an Executive Order directing the Treasury to continue to meet the obligations of this public debt, authorized by law, in keeping with the Constitution. This action has been hinted at, and mostly dismissed as something that need not be considered because it’s unthinkable that a deal will not be done. But now that this is not only thinkable, but probable, going what is called the “Constitutional route” may be the only responsible option left to the President. It might also be the sort of action that would motivate some people to call for his impeachment.
The irony of that is this: that the very people most likely to seek articles of impeachment, including those who would most readily vote for it, would include quite a number whose own loyalty to the Constitution could just as legitimately be called in question, because they have so publicly and insistently violated the Constitution by, loud and long, “questioning the validity” of the public debt of the United states, authorized by law, as established through the action of previous Congresses.
That’s how the stalemate could escalate. Again. Is this a great country, or what?