RICHMOND — Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Monday blasted Democrats and Republicans alike for the stalemate that threatens to shutter the federal government.
“Our American political process, some would say, is broken,” McDonnell (R) said at a news conference called on the eve of the looming shutdown. “And I would say that there’s plenty of blame to go around.”
McDonnell said that President Obama has failed to lead in a strong and effective way, declining to “engage in any serious discussion with Republicans on entitlement reform.”
But the term-limited governor also criticized Republican efforts to shut down the government in an effort to defund the federal health-care law known as Obamacare. He predicted that the Affordable Care Act will eventually collapse “under its own weight.” But trying to force its demise at the expense of federal services and workers is wrong, particularly for a state that relies heavily on the federal government for direct employment and contracting.
“My Republican friends have got to understand there’s no way on earth that the president and the United States Senate are going to vote to defund Obamacare,” McDonnell said. “Look, I am no fan at all of Obamacare. We were the first state to file a lawsuit. ... But it is absolutely wrong to shut down the government.”
McDonnell said that Democrats and Republicans have got to come together to establish a sustainable spending plan for the country, just as state governments and individual families must.
“We’ve been living on continuing resolutions and short-term spending plans, and sequestration because no agreement could be [reached],” McDonnell said. “No state, no American business, no American family could possibly run its fiscal house the way the United States government is run.”
McDonnell’s own family finances have been under scrutiny this year, as federal and state investigators have probed luxury gifts and $145,000 that a Virginia businessman gave to the governor and his family. Some of that money went to shore up a McDonnell family real estate venture that got in over its head with several luxury home purchases after housing prices dropped.
McDonnell has apologized and returned the gifts but also has said he provided no state favors in exchange for the gifts and money from Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams, Sr.