Maryann Tobin

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is digging in his heals ahead of the upcoming debt-ceiling battle with President Obama.

On Sunday, in an appearance on “Face the Nation,” McConnell sounded off against any more tax increases, and instead insisted that the GOP would use the threat of US credit default and other potential self-inflicted economic disasters to get the spending cuts Republicans want.

"We have a few opportunities here in the next few months presented to us by his request to raise the debt ceiling, by the sequester kicking in two months from now, by the continuing resolution to operate the government - plenty of opportunities to generate that discussion," McConnell said.

President Obama has said, on more than one occasion since his reelection, that he will not let Republicans use the debt ceiling as a weapon against the American people and global economy.

Under previous administrations, the debt ceiling has routinely been raised by Congress without question. Generally viewed as a technicality, the congressional vote simply allows the US to pay the debts it already owes. Other nations depend on the credit payments the US makes to them and default could crash their economies, along with American financial markets.

In 2011, House Republicans waited until literally minutes before the US would have defaulted on its debts before raising the debt ceiling. At the time, Republicans were insisting on funding cuts to Planned Parenthood in exchange for averting default.

The last minute deal, which did not cut off all Planned Parenthood funding, made the US look financially reckless and caused a downgrade of the country’s credit rating, which is adding about $100 billion a year, to the federal deficit, due to higher interest rates.

In the 2012 debt-ceiling battle, Republicans are looking for deep cuts in entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare.