Sen. King: Using debt limit as leverage for cuts a 'terrible' idea

Republicans say that after the "fiscal cliff" tax deal agreed to earlier this month, the focus should now turn to spending in upcoming budget battles. With the nation poised to hit its borrowing limit as early as mid-February and lawmakers needing to agree on a measure to continue funding the government, the GOP sees opportunities to force Obama to accept deeper cuts and entitlement reform.

King said he sided with former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who argued against using the debt ceiling as a bargaining tool.

"I'm with Newt Gingrich on this one. Newt Gingrich has taken a strong position that Republicans should not use the debt ceiling as leverage in cutting spending," King continued. "Let's use the continuing resolution, let's use the sequester, but don't use the debt ceiling."

Democrats have begun considering alternative ways of raising the debt ceiling in the face of continued Republican opposition to increasing the limit without deep spending cuts. A number of Democrats have urged President Obama to take executive action to unilaterally raise the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling in order to prevent a default.

“We believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without congressional approval, if necessary,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and other Democratic leaders said in a letter to Obama last week.