WASHINGTON – Angelenos swarmed Capitol Hill on Tuesday, fanning out across Washington to lobby for federal money for a laundry list of items and make the city’s voice heard in the national corridors of power. Kicking off the three-day bombardment of congressional offices, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the group of more than 200 business leaders, education officials and City Council members a historic delegation. “If we had a flag and spoke our own language – and some people say that we do – we’d have the seventh-largest economy in the world,” Villaraigosa said at an afternoon news conference with the Capitol rotunda behind him. “We want our fair share,” the mayor demanded. “California, and particularly Southern California, has been an ATM for far too long. It’s time to recognize that we have been an engine not just for the state, but for the nation.” Villaraigosa and the delegation also continued to receive a warm response on the Hill as aides and lawmakers stopped to greet them. As part of the city’s lobbying blitz, Villaraigosa met with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., on the upcoming reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind education act. The mayor and Bratton also sat with Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and pushed for money to address Los Angeles’ gang problem. “We have got to start creating jobs for these kids and giving them hope in life,” Bratton said. Greuel pushes ports Meanwhile, Greuel traveled the halls with a copy of a recent report showing the value of goods shipped through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to every congressional district in the nation. “What happens in Los Angeles and Long Beach matters to the rest of the country,” Greuel said, noting that lawmakers need to use the report to push for improvements to the 710 Freeway and the Alameda Corridor East rail project. “We’re giving this information to our electeds so they can go to their colleagues in the House and Senate and say, `You need to vote for this,”‘ she said. Members of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, also traveling with the delegation, used the opportunity to pounce on San Fernando Valley lawmakers for local aid. They pushed for passage of a small-business tax-relief package, repairs to Bay Delta levees and higher education-loan forgiveness for child-care providers. Fighting for funds The delegation had no price tag on the additional federal funds it would like to see. But local lawmakers warned that the budget is shrinking and House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., will likely seek to vastly reduce lawmakers’ ability to slip pork projects, also known as “earmarks,” into funding bills. “The competition for scarce federal dollars has never been more fierce,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, which holds the purse strings to the federal government. An aide to Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, also was pragmatic. “What it means is, if you’re going to reduce the overall size of the pie, then nobody’s going to have a super year,” said Gary Goldberg, Sherman’s legislative director. Members of the Los Angeles delegation are set today to continue their D.C. foray, meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; House Education and Labor Committee head George Miller; Rep. James Oberstar, D-Mich., head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Delaware presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden. And Villaraigosa vowed to see the Los Angeles lobbying delegation get larger each year. “We are a force to be reckoned with,” he said. email@example.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The regional delegation pushed its cause while, in Senate chambers, legislators voted to support withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, escalating a deepening dispute between Congress and the president. Villaraigosa – flanked by Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton; City Council members Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Bill Rosendahl; and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent David Brewer III – vowed to seek dollars for roads and schools. And he called on Congress to reform immigration laws, dole out anti-terrorism funding to states most at risk for attack, and invest in violence-prevention measures. Warm response The news conference outside a House office building – one of the premier photo-opportunity spots on Capitol Hill – lacked some of the glamour of Villaraigosa’s previous visits to the Beltway, but still drew a respectable number of TV stations and media.