"No treasury secretary or president would actually default on the debt, even if they couldn't borrow more money," Toomey said.
Rep. Stephen Scalise, R-La., chairman of the Republican House Committee, a conservative bloc in Congress, said "Obama is the only person in town right now saying the federal government will not meet its obligations. That's just not the case."
Lawmakers opposed to raising the federal borrowing limit argue creditors will be paid, and what is actually at stake is a government shutdown, not a debt default, Politico said.
Toomey and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., will reintroduce legislation requiring the Treasury to prioritize interest payments in the event of a debt ceiling breach, and say they have supporters lined up.
"We collect money every day. It just depends on how you spend it," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. "We're just talking about slowing down government spending."
Lou Crandall, an economist with Wrightson ICAP, said anything short of default would be preferable to the consequences of default but "merely saying something is 'not as bad' is not a very powerful argument."