Lawmakers and public workers in the region are trying to increase pressure on Republicans to pass the president's jobs bill, which they say will give states extra money for teachers and emergency personnel.
As President Obama wrapped up the promotion of his jobs bill in Virginia, he dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to drum up support on Capitol Hill, where hundreds of union workers showed up Wednesday. But it will take more than a rally to pass even small sections of the president’s jobs plan.
Republicans accuse Democrats of playing politics by holding votes on portions of the bill without attempting to forge a compromise first. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) rejects the criticism.
"What is their suggestion? We took it together, they won't even let us bring it up to the floor," Cardin says. "I’m not sure there’s any other option ... Any reasonable suggestion they have, come forward with it. But don’t just give us their ideology. Give us jobs bills."
The White House claims a $35 billion portion of the bill will support more than 17,000 educators across Maryland, Virginia and the District. It also includes money for emergency responders.
Rodney Bartlett, a retired Prince George’s County police officer, says if Congress doesn’t help local communities in this bad economy it can make things worse.
"Reducing budgets should not mean reducing public safety," he says. "Cuts to public safety cause home values to drop, crime to rise, and our neighborhood schools become less safe. Businesses leave the communities." The Senate is scheduled to vote on the funding for teachers and emergency personnel on Friday.