Dragging out negotiations on the debt ceiling could potentially harm the US and global economies, not to mention tax and entitlement reforms, says Rep. Sander Levin (D) of Michigan.
Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Results if Congress does not raise the ceiling on the government's debt:
"The consequences would be ... dramatic and ... potentially cataclysmic.... Those who say, 'OK, let's toy with that,' they are toying with the American economy, and they are toying with the global economy."
The need for additional revenue in any effort to deal with $109 billion in automatic spending cuts (or sequestration) due March 1:
"You cannot address sequestration simply through cuts.... This is not a question of starving the beast; this is a question of ... whether we are going to starve not the beast but necessary programs."
Prospects for tax reform after Congress deals with sequestration and the debt ceiling:
"I'm hopeful, if we don't drag [a debt-ceiling fix] out.... Those who are saying, let's do it dribble by dribble, they're the ones who would be undermining the effort to sit down and have a serious discussion on tax reform and the entitlements."