Fitch downgrades U.S. credit rating from top score after debt ceiling crisis

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Fitch downgraded its credit rating for the U.S. government, from AAA to AA+, two months after the debt-ceiling crisis was resolved.

“In Fitch’s view, there has been a steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years, including on fiscal and debt matters,” the rating agency said Tuesday. Fitch said the U.S. appeared to suffer from an “erosion of governance,” pointing to the Washington brinkmanship over the debt ceiling as an example.

With a rating of AA+, the U.S. still holds among the highest possible ratings, which Fitch saying the nation still benefits from a “large, advanced, well-diversified and high-income economy.”“I strongly disagree with Fitch Ratings’ decision,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement Tuesday, calling the change “arbitrary and based on outdated data.”

Fitch is one of three major credit rating agencies, along with S&P Moody’s, that evaluate a company or country’s ability to pay its debts. The agencies use scales to “rate” a debtor’s risk of making full and timely payments, helping investors understand the credit history and outlook associated with any bonds they choose to buy.