City State: Morning Roundup

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MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY was among the Democrats to appear on the Sunday-morning talk shows to blame others for the United States losing its AAA credit rating, after Congress’ lengthy, partisan debate before raising the federal debt ceiling. Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” he joined Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in blaming the Standard & Poor’s credit agency, saying the downgrade was a mistake. He also said Washington lawmakers have been unable to come together on “the most important issue facing our country,” which is job creation, and that “tea party obstructionism” is partially to blame, according the The Washington Times.

Meanwhile, Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to call the situation “the tea party downgrade,” a phrase former Obama administration adviser David Axelrod repeated on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

AT LEAST ONE NAVY SEAL who died when a U.S. military helicopter was shot down over the weekend in Afghanistan has ties to the Washington region. Aaron Vaughn, 30, of Tennessee was married to former Washington Redskins cheerleader Kimberly Vaughn. Accompanied by her parents in McLean, Mrs. Vaughn told the NBC’s “Today” show her husband “loved Christ and his country.” The Vaughns have two young children. The crash killed 30 U.S. troops.

VIRGINIA HOUSE MINORITY LEADER WARD L. ARMSTRONG, whose Southside district was moved north to include parts of Prince William and Loudoun counties during redistricting this year, is among the most notable of the casualties of a process that has left some incumbents playing musical chairs in bids for re-election, reports David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

GROUPS THAT LOBBY VIRGINIA’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY — including some of the state’s largest and most influential businesses — have donated millions of dollars to legislative candidates running in this fall’s campaign, according to The Washington Post. Dominion Resources, the state’s largest energy provider, has contributed the most — $430,494 — to legislative candidates since the election cycle began in January 2010, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

A NEW TOUR OF MOUNT VERNON is showing visitors how the Northern Virginia estate has a history beyond being home to George Washington, including a role in the Civil War, reports Meredith Somers of The Washington Times.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY LEADERS ARE CONSIDERING ADDING GAMBLING to the Rosecroft Raceway, the storied horse track that closed last summer. The track could reopen as soon as next week, and the new owners already are plotting its next chapter: as the site of one of Maryland’s largest casinos, according to The Washington Post.

Until now, Prince George’s politicians have refused to host a gaming site, citing concerns about slot machines preying on the poor and increasing crime, but that resistance is starting to crack. With the promise of millions of dollars in proceeds to bolster the recession-battered budgets of host counties as well as the state, some Prince George’s leaders say it’s time to be more accommodating.

WHEN THE MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY board met in a work session last week to hammer out the final details of what is expected to be the largest toll increase in the state’s history, only two people were there besides members and staff.

One was a reporter who pretty much had to be there to do his job. The other was state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican who represents Harford and Cecil counties — two jurisdictions that have a huge stake in the outcome of the board’s deliberations, the Baltimore Sun reports.

MARYLAND SEN. DAVID BRINKLEY, Western Maryland Republican, says the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee was told over the weekend that Standard & Poor’s would not lower the state’s credit rating along with the federal government’s, the Frederick News-Post reports. Maryland was warned 10 days earlier by the Department of Legislative Services that its credit rating could be at risk because the state’s financial well-being is so entangled with the federal budget. Of the approximately $34 billion the state spends a year, about $20 billion comes from the federal government in the form of reimbursements for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs, Mr. Brinkley said. Maryland also has a low cash reserve, which put its credit rating in further jeopardy.

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