BUSINESS

Bernanke Urges Congress To Raise Debt Ceiling

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, Wednesday,
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Federal Reserve sent its clearest signal to date Wednesday that it will keep interest rates super-low to boost the U.S. economy even after the job market has improved significantly. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Corrects quote in third paragraph to say "to raise the debt ceiling" instead of "to avoid the debt ceiling")

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan 14 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday urged U.S. lawmakers to raise the country's debt ceiling to avoid a potentially disastrous default on its debt.

Likening Congress to a family arguing that it can improve its credit rating by deciding not to pay its credit card bill, Bernanke said that raising the legal borrowing limit was not the same as authorizing new government spending.

It is "very, very important that Congress take necessary action to raise the debt ceiling," he told an event sponsored by the University of Michigan. (Reporting By Jonathan Spicer; Writing by Alister Bull; Editing by Leslie Adler)