(Corrects quote in third paragraph to say "to raise the debt ceiling" instead of "to avoid the debt ceiling")
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan 14 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday urged U.S. lawmakers to raise the country's debt ceiling to avoid a potentially disastrous default on its debt.
Likening Congress to a family arguing that it can improve its credit rating by deciding not to pay its credit card bill, Bernanke said that raising the legal borrowing limit was not the same as authorizing new government spending.
It is "very, very important that Congress take necessary action to raise the debt ceiling," he told an event sponsored by the University of Michigan. (Reporting By Jonathan Spicer; Writing by Alister Bull; Editing by Leslie Adler)