The next big "systemic risk" to the economy is the U.S. Congress, one member of that body suggested Monday.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said that the spending undertaken by the Congress during the first nine months of the year poses a structural threat to the economy.

"If you want to look at the next systemic risk to this country, it's the Congress of the United States," Gregg said during an appearance on CNBC this morning. "And the fact that we're running up all this debt that we're not going to be able to repay, or if we do repay it we're going to have to devalue the dollar."

Gregg, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and longtime critic of deficits and debt, pinned the blame on populism in the country.

"We've always had a very strong strain of populism in this country that has said you can get something for nothing and promise everything to everybody," he said. "As a very practical matter, in the last eight months, all we've seen is a massive expansion of spending, a movement of the government to the left very aggressively, and it's been a very conscious decision."

Gregg asserted that the government will inevitably move leftward over time, spending more on social programs and entitlements like healthcare.

An opponent of the health reform bills before Congress, Gregg asserted that the public (or "government-run") option would inevitably be included in health legislation, largely to placate more liberal House Democrats, who have threatened to vote against any bill lacking the public plan.

"It will be buried in all sort of language that says it isn't public, but it will lead to a public plan, in my opinion," Gregg said. "What passes the Senate will be much more temperate than what comes out of the conference committee."