Summers: Debt limit doubters playing with fire

Summers, who headed the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton, echoed the dire warnings of current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. In January, Geithner warned Congress that failing to raise the $14.3 trillion limit before the government reaches it this spring would result in "catastrophic economic consequences."

While House Republican leadership has indicated that the debt limit will eventually need to be raised, conservatives are still demanding major spending cuts accompany any hike.

Furthermore, several Republicans have accused Geithner of using scare tactics in the debt limit debate, going so far as to back legislation they argue would prevent a default on U.S. debt by prioritizing payments on foreign obligations over other government bills.

Summers, who resigned as the head of the administration's economic panel in December, now teaches at Harvard University, where he previously served as its president.