Fighting to carve the District of Columbia out of the government shutdown fight, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton deployed more than 100 people to lobby senators Wednesday, asking them to vote on a House-passed bill that would give the city the right to stay open using its own money.
Among the recruits were those who rely on city services that could be halted if the shutdown continues.
“Free D.C.,” the group chanted.
Ms. Norton, who led the rally and was joined by Mayor Vincent Gray and Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, tried to quiet the protesters, fearing they would upset nearby Democratic senators who were holding a press conference of their own. Instead she urged her troops to to head to Senate office buildings and personally lobby the senators as they returned to their offices.
Ms. Norton and Mr. Issa formed a bipartisan alliance to push the D.C. bill through the House last week, but are now facing resistance from Democrats in the Senate and by President Obama, who has vowed to veto the bill should it reach his desk.
A line of Capitol police officers lined the sidewalk separating the crowd from the senators. Some of the students asked if they were paid by the D.C. government.
One police officer replied that they were not being paid today, and they were there because they love their job.