by Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON — Two Virginia congressmen fumed Tuesday about the damage being done to their state by the ongoing government shutdown and laid the blame squarely on a fellow Virginian, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R), for preventing lawmakers from voting on a bill to immediately end it.

During a press conference, Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran said the shutdown has hurt Virginia more than any other state. They pointed out that more than 185,000 Virginia residents are federal employees and federal spending represents about one-third of the state’s entire economy. In addition, Virginia is home to a large number of veterans who are now experiencing delays in receiving their benefits.

It’s been more than two weeks since the Senate passed a “clean” funding bill to open the government, with no strings attached. Typically, any House member could call up that bill and request a vote. But on Sept. 30, on the eve of the shutdown, Republicans quietly changed the House rules so only one person can bring that bill up: Cantor.

Moran said the rules change was “unprecedented” and has left Virginians, along with every one else, at the hands of Cantor to end the shutdown, even though he refuses to do so. The Senate-passed bill already has the votes to pass in the House and would be signed into law by the president, if it were allowed to get a vote.

“Hardest-hit state in the nation,” Moran said. “Yet the one person holding this up is the person who represents the state capital, who is the majority leader of the House.”