WASHINGTON -- Progressives are leaning on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to follow the lead of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and declare opposition to President Barack Obama's trade agenda.
Reid came out against so-called fast track trade authority Wednesday, all but ensuring Obama's big plans to cut major trade deals in Europe and Asia are on ice for at least a year.
But progressives are still concerned some Democrats in the House might go along with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and move something that puts pressure on Reid and the Senate. So one group, Democracy for America, is launching a petition Thursday to get Pelosi to echo Reid in hopes of keeping her party in line.
Liberals -- and many conservatives -- are most concerned by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the White House is pursuing in secret negotiations among 12 Pacific nations. They believe the agreement would undermine labor and environmental protections at home, and if it's fast-tracked, Congress would have little power to object to specific parts of it.
"While Reid's firm stance diminishes the chances that the President will be given fast track authority by the Senate, it doesn't kill those chances completely," DFA head Jim Dean says in an email that will accompany the petition. "If Fast Track were to pass the House, Reid would be under overwhelming pressure from moderate Democrats -- especially those up for re-election this year -- to cave in and allow the bill to pass with mostly Republican votes.
"Progressives need to keep Reid out of that dangerous position. And we can't do that without the vocal support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi," Dean says. "Reid did his part. Now it's time for Rep. Pelosi to do hers. Tell Nancy Pelosi to put her foot down -- publicly oppose Fast Track and the TPP today."
Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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