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Toomey casts doubt on consequences of not raising debt-ceiling


As the U.S. government inches closer to reaching the legal amount it is allowed to borrow, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey laid out a plan that he says would prevent the government from defaulting on its loans without increasing the amount of money the U.S. can legally borrow. Toomey said he was fearful of what would happen if immediate action was not taken to control the federal debt.

"The thing that worries me as a much as anything else is the danger that we could have a dangerous and catastrophic shock," Toomey said before the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Toomey introduced legislation, which would require the Treasury department to pay off some debts and defer payments of others. That stands in direct contrast to warnings from the Obama administration.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said that it is "essential" for Congress to raise the $14.29 trillion debt limit soon because sometime between April 5 and May 31, the government will exceed what it can now legally borrow to cover it's obligations.

Toomey believes the president is not supporting this bill, because he would rather try to scare members of Congress into voting for an increase in the ceiling.

Republicans have mixed views on how to tackle the debt ceiling with many saying they won't support an increase without significant structural reforms in the budget process or big spending cuts.

Some Republicans are requesting that Congress vote in favor of a balanced-budget amendment before they deal with the debt ceiling. The amendment, offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), would require a super-majority to raise taxes and possible spending caps that would create immediate reductions in government spending.