Judd Gregg: Debt Ceiling Should Not Be Used As Leverage In Fiscal Cliff Talks

12/31/2012 10:49 am ET

Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said Monday that the debt ceiling should not be used as leverage by Republicans in discussions on the so-called fiscal cliff, a stance that puts him at odds with his party's current negotiating on the automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.

When asked on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown," whether a debt ceiling increase should be a bargaining chip, Gregg said, "Personally -- no. I happen to think that when your credit card comes due, you pay the bill."

Gregg was asked about Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) appearance on "Fox News Sunday," during which Graham indicated that he would not vote for a debt ceiling increase unless entitlement spending is reformed. "Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I'm not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare," Graham said.

Gregg said he sympathized with Graham's frustration, and he characterized the senator as "extremely responsible."

"What we're seeing here is very little action on the spending side of the ledger," said Gregg.

Republicans see the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in the ongoing negotiations, The Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Michael McAuliff reported Monday:

A major sticking point was whether to raise the country's debt ceiling -- which it will hit soon -- and what to do about the $1 trillion, 10-year budget-cut plan mandated by Congress in the last debt ceiling deal. Democrats were pushing for a year-long extension of the borrowing limit and a two-year delay of the cuts. Republicans didn't want an extension at all and were demanding some concessions, seeing the debt ceiling as their best bargaining chip.

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