Top Democratic Senators on Friday urged President Barack Obama to be ready to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval in order to avert a damaging debt default.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his leadership team said Obama should use "any lawful steps" under his authority to "ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis."

Democrats are anticipating another possible deadlock over the debt limit in Congress and hope a unilateral move, or the threat of one, by Obama would avoid a replay of the 2011 fight that pushed the country to the brink of default.

Some analysts and Democrats believe the 14th Amendment of the Constitution gives the president the authority to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling unilaterally.