POLITICS
01/07/2011 11:42 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lindsey Graham: Failure To Raise Debt Ceiling Would Cause 'Collapse & Calamity Throughout The World'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) set himself apart from a number of his Republican colleagues Thursday by taking a stand in favor of raising the federal government's debt ceiling and acknowledging the possible consequences of not doing so.

"Let me tell you what's involved if we don't lift the debt ceiling: financial collapse and calamity throughout the world. That's not lost upon me," Graham said on CNN, according to ThinkProgress.

The South Carolina Republican made similar comments Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying that it "would be very bad for the position of the United States in the world at large" for the nation to default on its debts.

He did, however, go on to argue on CNN that the debt needs to be brought under control to limit the need for similar actions in the future, since "we've done this 93 times, and if we keep doing the same old thing, then that is insanity to the nth degree."

Graham expressed strong support for a GOP initiative to slash spending, a plan that has been criticized by some Tea Partyers as not ambitious enough.

"We're going to have calamity of a different fashion if we don't get our spending under control," he said. "So what I said is the House is going to go back to 2008 spending levels. I would like to see the Senate mirror what the House does. Now that means tightening our belt, but name somebody in America who hasn't had to tighten their belt."

Key administration officials such as Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have recently urged lawmakers to vote in favor of a resolution to raise the debt ceiling, predicted to come this spring. A failure to increase the limit, they say, could cause national and even global catastrophe.

Some legislators have vowed to oppose an increase. Freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and others have discounted the potential effects of voting no on the measure, even if it would prompt a government shutdown.

Graham, for his part, appears at least somewhat willing to compromise. He may, however, try to win concessions on cuts to Social Security and elsewhere in exchange for his vote, which some on the left consider an unfavorable trade.

WATCH (via ThinkProgress):

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