(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

It’s a topic O’Malley, the outspoken chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, has been talking about a good deal lately.

During a news conference last week in Salt Lake City, where he and his colleagues from around the country gathered for a meeting of the National Governors Association, O’Malley made the case that states were at risk from both a potential default on the federal debt and the deep budget cuts that might be made as part of a deal to avoid that.

“If I can use a whitewater analogy here, the two rocks we need to shoot between is, on the one side, being needlessly driven into default, which will kill the jobs recovery,” O’Malley told reporters. “The other rock is massive public-sector cuts, by whatever name, that would also kill the jobs recovery.”

Maryland is one of five states that has since been put on notice that its bond rating could be downgraded as part of the fallout of the congressional impasse.

O’Malley and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are expected to brief reporters following Thursday morning’s closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.