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Pelosi. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Labor groups are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to oppose a bid by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, arguing that his "pro-corporate trade" stances should preclude him from being elected to the powerful position.

What they're saying: "How America’s trade is structured, and by whom, is fundamental in determining whether we advance workers’ rights," the Communications Workers of America, Teamsters, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers write in a letter obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: A contested election for the chairmanship is expected this week.

  • The committee's jurisdiction is much broader in scope than just trade, touching on everything from foreign assistance to national security, cyber issues and public diplomacy.
  • Nearly three dozen progressive groups last month endorsed Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) for the job instead.

The big picture: Progressives aren't just weighing in on congressional leadership.

  • Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and incoming Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) joined a petition to try to block President-elect Biden's former chief of staff from getting an administration position.
  • Progressives have also been outspoken in their opposition to the idea of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Transportation secretary.

Details: Critics of Meeks highlight his role in launching the bipartisan Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus, and they say pro-corporate trade is a political loser for the 2022 midterms as Democrats seek support from working-class voters upset with a "rigged economy."

Go deeper

"Impeachable offense": Democrats react to Trump's Georgia call

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Leading Democrats accused President Trump Sunday of corruption, "abuse of power" and committing an "impeachable offense" for urging Georgia's Republican Secretary of State in a phone call to overturn Joe Biden's election win.

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by House Democrats in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, before being acquitted in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Nancy Pelosi narrowly wins another term as Speaker of the House

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was reelected as Speaker of the House at the start of the new session of Congress on Sunday.

Why it matters: Pelosi had little wiggle room to lose votes from members of her party, as absences from the coronavirus pandemic complicated the matter. She needed the majority of votes from lawmakers present in the chamber.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.