O’Malley blames GOP for gridlock
Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has ratcheted up his rhetoric in recent days over the ongoing talks on raising the nation’s debt ceiling, told Democrats in Congress Thursday that not reaching an agreement would have a significant impact on Maryland and other states.
Calling the debate a “defining moment in our country’s history,” O’Malley blamed “extreme members of the Republican Party” for the gridlock on raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Naming names, O’Malley reiterated a line he has used in recent days, pointing at House Majority Leader “Eric Cantor and the dinosaur wing of the Republican Party.”
But O'Malley, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, also said he believes some GOP moderates are negotiating in good faith.
“I believe that a majority of public servants in the proud party of Lincoln want what’s best for our country and would like to see our country move forward,” O'Malley said during a news conference that followed the closed-door meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “That’s really the resonant space that we need to find.”
O’Malley noted a threat made this week by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade the state’s AAA bond rating, a move that would increase the cost of borrowing. Following that threat, state officials decided Wednesday to hold off by one business day the start of a sale of $718 million in state bonds.
“On both sides of the Potomac, Maryland’s triple-a bond rating and Virginia’s triple-a bond rating is threatened by our potential inability to pay the bills of the United States, the wealthiest republic on the planet,” he said.
Because of its proximity to Washington and its close ties to the federal government, Maryland could also be adversely affected by whatever agreement Congress and the White House ultimately reach. Federal government employees, for instance, will likely take a hit in compensation. Spending cuts could also have an impact on the state’s federal contractors.
Both O’Malley and Rep. Steny Hoyer, who invited the governor to speak to the Democratic caucus, stressed their preference that the agreement to raise the debt ceiling include new revenues. Republican leaders in the House have steadfastly opposed that idea.