Republicans Downplay Urgency Of Raising Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON — Failing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling would be less damaging than allowing the deficit to continue to swell, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on Sunday, fueling a brewing battle over whether the government can take on more debt.

The Treasury is expected to hit its debt ceiling in May, at which point it will need authorization from Congress before it can take on additional loans. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told members of Congress the debt limit needs to be raised by early July to prevent the government from defaulting on its loans.

Leading economists say that failing to raise the debt limit could be disastrous for the economy, with major implications on markets worldwide. But some Republicans downplayed the effects of allowing the government to hit its debt limit, arguing on Sunday talk shows that concern about the hitting the debt ceiling is overblown.

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