House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNews media's sausage-making obsession helps no one Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-Calif.) in a meandering but dramatic floor speech on Friday announced her vote against a measure providing assistance to workers displaced by trade.
“If TAA slows down the fast-track, I’m prepared to vote against TAA," Pelosi said.
Pelosi announced her opposition to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program just before it went down in the House, with 302 lawmakers voting against it.
The failure of TAA could sink a broader trade package that includes President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWe must eliminate nuclear weapons, but a 'No First Use' Policy is not the answer Building back a better vice presidency Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor MORE's request for fast-track trade authority.
Pelosi's move is a rare split with Obama, who visited Capitol Hill on Friday morning and pleaded with Democrats to back the measure.
The California Democrat had been under pressure from liberal groups to oppose the trade package. While many had expected Pelosi to vote against fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), her opposition to TAA took many by surprise.
Pelosi argued that opposing TAA now would give Democrats leverage for a trade package they view as more favorable.
“We want a better deal for American workers,” Pelosi said.
A group of liberal House Democrats opposed to the trade package, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and Brad Sherman (Calif.), applauded when Pelosi announced her opposition to TAA.
Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO who has been aggressively lobbying Democrats to vote against the fast-track deal, praised Pelosi in a statement just minutes after the TAA bill failed on the House floor.
"Nancy Pelosi has always fought for working families and today her leadership on the trade package vote was instrumental in the House voting against another bad trade deal," he said.
"She stood up against corporate interests and as always put first the people who are too often left out of trade agreement discussions. I applaud Rep. Pelosi’s bravery and leadership on this and look forward to working with her on good trade bills."
Trumka had previously threatened that Democratic senators who backed fast-track during a May vote will be held accountable, and warned that labor could sit out the 2016 elections over trade.
— This story was last updated at 2:06 p.m.