ARLINGTON, Va. – Virginia could be hit hard economically by the federal government shutdown. More than 150,000 workers who live in the Commonwealth could be furloughed and thousands of veterans could have some of their benefits delayed.
Now, congressional gridlock over the federal budget has sparked a conversation in the race for Virginia’s governor.
Flanked by local Democratic leaders Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran, Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe called on his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli to condemn his tea party supporters for threatening the shutdown.
“Virginia’s economic health should not be collateral damage in the Tea Party’s ideological war,” McAuliffe said.
Referring to the effort to defund the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, McAuliffe said as many as 800,000 veterans could lose benefits under any government shutdown.
“Why won’t he speak out and tell the Tea Party folks over there who are moving rapidly forward to shut our government down to stop using this as a bargaining chip?” McAuliffe said.
Cuccinelli has said in the past that he wanted Obamacare repealed. As Virginia Attorney General, he lead the lawsuit to stop the law last year and lost in court.
His campaign fired back at McAuliffe with a written statement.
“With the federal government on the verge of the first government shutdown since 1996, an outcome that nobody wants, it’s important to remind people that Terry McAuliffe has repeatedly advocated for a shutdown of Virginia’s government in blind support of ObamaCare.”
The Cuccinelli campaign also released a video that focused on McAuliffe’s past statements on the issue.