McDonnell blasts debt ceiling talks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The federal debt ceiling debate is threatening to take down Virginia's Triple-A bond rating. And that's not sitting well at the state Capitol.

It was meant to be a day for celebrating Virginia's newly announced $311 millon surplus. Instead, Governor Bob McDonnell condemned what's taking place in Washington.

"Yeah, I'm very unhappy. In fact, we're furious," McDonnell said.

Federal dealmakers are nearing an August 2nd deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling. If they don't, the United States risks defaulting.

Already that's caused Moody's Investors Service to put Virginia on notice that it and four other states could have their top Triple-A bond ratings downgraded. McDonnell says the feds need to make the deal, now.

"If they don't, not only will it be embarrassing, but it will create an international financial crisis, and Virginia and our four other sister states are gonna be the first ones to be victim to that," he said.

What would happen after a federal default isn't entirely clear. But a downgraded bond rating would likely make it more expensive and, thus, more difficult for Virginia to do business. So the Republican governor offered the party line.

"If I was in charge, I would cut spending dramatically in every area of the federal budget," McDonnell said.

With the August deadline looming, even the leaders of Virginia are mostly spectators now.

"There's gotta be some compromise, or we default and the greatest country on Earth is the laughingstock of the world. That's not acceptable," he said.

The four other states at risk of a downgrade are Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, and New Mexico. Virginia has had its Triple-A bond rating since 1938.

Earlier, the governor announced the $311million dollar surplus. He said it will go mostly toward the state's "rainy day" fund. Other recipients include water quality projects and tornado relief. There was no mention of another bonus for state employees.

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