'We always do this': Sen. Jon Tester expressed frustration about the battle over raising the debt ceiling and avoiding a government shutdown

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Sen. Jon Tester
Sen. Jon Tester. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
  • Senate Democrats are struggling to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown.

  • Sen. Jon Tester told Politico the fight between Democrats and the GOP was "a ridiculous exercise."

  • "We always do this fucking dance," he told the outlet.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Senate Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated as they try to pressure Republicans into accepting a debt-ceiling increase that GOP leaders have forcefully rejected, all while avoiding the political catastrophe of a government shutdown next week, according to Politico.

And one Democrat in particular isn't mincing words over the stalemate.

"We always do this fucking dance," Sen. Jon Tester, a third-generation farmer from Montana, told Politico. "I don't know if people are going to put their sane minds on and do what needs to be done, or shut it down. This is just a ridiculous exercise."

He added: "I can't even compare it to anything I do on the farm that's this stupid."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday cemented his refusal to renew the nation's ability to pay its bills, telling Democrats not to "play Russian roulette" with the economy. But even though the House passed a bill Tuesday night that included both government funding and a debt-ceiling suspension, the legislation is likely to be torpedoed in the Senate, where McConnell has said Republicans will not support it.

If Congress doesn't act in time to avert a federal default, the financial consequences could send the nation into another recession.

So, while Democrats are eager to keep up their public pressure on Republicans to accept their proposal, in private the politicians are said to be willing to do whatever it takes to avoid a shutdown. According to Politico, doing so would almost certainly require Democrats to drop a borrowing-limit increase from their funding package.

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona told the outlet his party "can't allow the government to shut down." Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia echoed his sentiments. And Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland suggested other alternatives to raising the debt ceiling and securing the spending bill.

"I don't know which strategy they will use next," Cardin told Politico. "But I know there are other strategies, if this doesn't work."

But time is running out. Democratic sources told the outlet the Senate was likely to vote on the House-passed funding bill on Monday, where it will almost certainly fail. Just four days later, on October 1, the government is set to shut down.

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