AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in National Harbor, Md.
The region's lawmakers are expected to watch President Obama's tone and message during his third State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Congress is more divided than at any time in the modern era, and lawmakers in both parties have had their agendas blunted as gridlock reigns on Capitol Hill.
Unemployment is still high, and both parties have aggressive agendas that they say will spur economic growth. But Congress remains gridlocked and polls show public anger is only growing. That's why Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says Obama needs to continue pushing his jobs bill even though Republicans remain opposed to the effort.
"President Obama has held out the olive branch for the last three years, and he's not only had it snatched out of his hand, he's had that hand bitten," says Connolly.
Republicans see it differently. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) says President Obama isn't doing nearly enough to try to reach compromises with House Republicans.
"I mean, it's always he reaches out to tell us what he wants us to do," says Griffith. "He doesn't reach out to find out where the common ground is."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) says the President needs to be forceful in the face of a Republican Party unified on defeating the administration.
"They are actually doing things that go against their constituents to hurt Obama, and it's clear," says Cummings. "So I think he needs to lay it all out."
The President will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday evening.