Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley is calling on leaders in Washington to find a way to avoid raising the national debt limit. The Democrat from Waterloo says he’s sent a letter to President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

“So far, neither the President nor the new Speaker have offered a plan to avoid reaching the debt ceiling,” Braley told reporters in conference call today. “This gives us a false choice – which is to either vote to increase the debt ceiling or vote to shut down the government.”

Government operations for the current fiscal year 2011 are only funded through March 4. The national debt, at roughly $14 trillion, is expected to hit its limit in April or May.

Braley says he believes there’s a “common sense, middle of the ground approach” to avoiding a debt limit increase. “I know and the American people know that will involve a lot of tough choices and a lot of cuts,” Braley said. “But, we have to be able to draw the line somewhere because if we don’t start addressing this spending problem now, when will we?”

President Obama is scheduled to release his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal next Monday. House Republicans have proposed a wide range of spending cuts aimed at saving $35 billion.