U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita suggested Monday that not raising the debt ceiling could become a good tool for curbing federal spending, despite chances the government would default on its loans.
Rokita, an Indiana Republican, argued that the nation would not default if it prioritized paying off debt over paying for daily operations.
Even with Republicans and Democrats at odds over how to solve the ongoing budget stalemate, Rokita is one of just a few lawmakers who have publicly suggested the debt ceiling shouldn't be raised at all. Many economists have warned the economic consequences could be catastrophic if the federal government defaults.
"We have the cash flow to meet our debt, now what we don't have, necessarily, is the cash flow to pay our debt and then all the things that we want," he said on WIBC-FM Monday.
Rokita added that he understood there may be some immediate pain, in the form of mass government layoffs and economic contraction, but suggested that would improve with an "explosion" in private-side spending.
"I certainly acknowledge there would be immediate pain. But again, are we living for us in the here and now, or are we living for the children of tomorrow?" he said.
"The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart lampooned Rokita earlier this month for calling a female CNN anchor "beautiful" and describing the health care law as "insidious." But Rokita defended himself Monday, saying Stewart should look up what the term means.