Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling unless his conditions for tax and budget reforms are met, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed set to be published Wednesday.
The freshman senator and tea party favorite said raising the limit – the legal amount the U.S. government is allowed to borrow to finance its debt – is "putting off the tough decisions until after the next election."
"We cannot afford to continue waiting. This may be our last chance to force Washington to tackle the central economic issue of our time," Rubio wrote. "If we simply raise it once again, without a real plan to bring spending under control and get our economy growing, America faces the very real danger of a catastrophic economic crisis."
Congress must reach an agreement over the debt ceiling before the United States reaches its legal borrowing limit of $14.29 trillion in April or May. Members of both parties say the country must address its fiscal issues but disagree over the cuts needed to tackle the rising debt. And the debate comes as members of Congress face a budget battle, with an April 8 expiration date for the bill currently funding the government.
To vote for legislation to raise the debt limit, Rubio said it either must be the last such bill or be accompanied by "a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
"Whether they admit it or not, everyone in Washington knows how to solve these problems. What is missing is the political will to do it," Rubio wrote. "Demagoguery is the last refuge of the spineless politician willing to do anything to win the next election."