Chuck Grassley., (file photo)

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says Democrats who have the working majorities in congress are on their own when it comes to raising the federal government’s borrowing limit.

“Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House,” Grassley said this morning during a conference call with Iowa reporters. “…If the government shuts down, Democrats will be responsible.”

Grassley and all the other Republicans in the U.S. Senate last night blocked a vote on a bill to raise the debt limit.

“It’s just going to scare the heck out of people of the United States and make the Democrats look bad and they want Republicans to help get it passed,” Grassley said. “But why would we help them get something passed when we don’t like the policy that they have in their $4.2 billion additional spending?”

The legislation that failed in the Senate last night included money to keep the federal government operating through early December. The new federal fiscal year starts October 1st and Grassley says Republicans would be willing to vote for basic government funding, without a hike in the debt limit. Grassley said to avoid government shutdowns this year and in the future, he’d support legislation that creates a permanent work around.

“Last year’s spending would just continue until we adopted a new budget or new appropriation bills for the succeeding year,” Grassley said.

Grassley said he voted to raise the debt ceiling during the Trump Administration when Republicans held the Senate majority because Republicans “were spending the money, we were causing the debt and we had a responsibility to do it.”

Abby Finkenauer of Cedar Rapids, one of the Democrats running for the chance to challenge Grassley’s bid for reelection in 2022, said Grassley’s opposition to raising the debt ceiling is “reckless.” Finkenauer said Grassley is putting the GOP’s “political agenda” first rather than the livelihoods of Iowans who depend on things like Social Security to get by. The U.S. Treasury secretary has said the government could run out of money for Social Security benefits and military pay sometime in October if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.