Illinois Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Washington lawmakers must work out a plan to raise the nation's debt limit before August.
Scores of House Republicans met with President Barack Obama Wednesday to work out a deal. The national debt, which stands at more than $14 trillion, has become a rallying point for the House majority. They held a largely symbolic vote Tuesday in opposition to raising the debt ceiling.
But Durbin told reporters Wednesday that failing to raise the debt ceiling would send the country into default - with catastrophic results.
"I'm afraid it will raise interest rates on homes and families and businesses all across America," Durbin said. "It could trigger, in the words of Treasury Secretary [Timothy] Geithner, another recession even worse than the one we just went through."
But Durbin says both parties need to begin negotiations for long-term deficit reduction where everything is on the table.
"The entitlements, as well as revenue, as well as the spending programs - and let's come up with a reasonable way to deal with this over a long period of time," he said.
Illinois' Republican senator, Mark Kirk, has said he'd vote "no" on raising the debt limit unless lawmakers talk about cutting spending.