By Senator Marco Rubio
Just 17 months ago, Washington raised the nation's debt limit to $16.39 trillion, the largest debt ceiling level in our nation's history. But because this increase didn't include serious spending reductions, it didn't take long to reach this borrowing limit.
In the coming weeks, we will again reach the debt limit, and President Obama is once more asking Congress to raise it, no questions asked.
Before we consider raising the debt limit, the American people deserve a real debate about how to ensure we don't have to keep raising it. The mountain of debt we are accumulating is mortgaging our children's future.
Without real spending cuts, future generations will be weighed down by high interest payments on our debt and won't be able to afford basic government functions, such as a strong national defense and social safety-net programs.
That is why any future increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by real spending cuts and reforms to unsustainable entitlement programs.
President Obama should view this not as a political nuisance, but as a real chance to adopt a plan that solves our debt problem and builds a stronger middle class.
We must simplify our tax code, stop needless regulations from holding back our job creators, encourage our energy industry to create more jobs, reform the way we educate and equip our middle class with skills for 21st century jobs, and reform health care by empowering individuals and families with more health care choices.
These policies will create middle-class jobs, boost take-home pay and help generate revenue for government -- not through new taxes but by creating new taxpayers.
However, this new revenue does no good if Washington politicians spend it instead of paying down our debt. Therefore, we need fundamental spending reforms that will stop Washington's spending spree, including a balanced budget amendment and saving Medicare and Social Security.
The president's goal should not be to find the path of least resistance to raise the debt ceiling. He should join the American people clamoring for a solution that creates jobs for the middle class, stops Washington's reckless spending, and preserves America's exceptionalism in the 21st century.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.