July 24th, 2010
09:31 AM ET
4 years ago

Progressives Take on K Street, with P Street

A new progressive lobbying effort is being announced Saturday in Las Vegas.
A new progressive lobbying effort is being announced Saturday in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas (CNN) – On Saturday the progressives here at Netroots Nation will announce the formation of “P Street,” a new effort to flex their muscle in Washington. P Street is a progressive lobbying shop designed to work in tandem with the Progressive Change Campaign Coalition. Its mission: helping members of Congress organize winning strategies to push progressive legislation.

P Street director Shaunna Thomas tells CNN, “It’s about being the progressive antidote to K Street.” K street is shorthand for Washington’s corporate and special interest lobbyists – many of whom work out of offices on K street.

“One thing we’ve noticed is that progressives are virtually absent on Capitol Hill as advocates and lobbyists,” says Thomas. “Other groups have single issue, narrow agendas, but there are very few people on the Hill who come with broad political context. We will do that, and work with members not just on the goals of legislation, but on political strategy that will galvanize not just the left, but mobilize members to pass progressive legislation.”

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, says the PCCC’s 430,000 online members will regularly be mobilized to press members of Congress. “Those are people we ask to make phone calls and activate in every Congressional district,” says Green.

They say the idea for P Street grew out their experience fighting to get a public option included in health care reform legislation. While that effort failed in the end, the group says they learned valuable lessons. They point in particular to the aftermath of Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s election victory in Massachusetts.

The public option had, effectively, been taken off the table in early 2010 in part because there weren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass it. But after Scott Brown’s victory deprived Democrats of a 60th vote in the Senate, Democrats decided to push health care through the Senate using a procedural tactic called reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes.

“We saw an opportunity to reopen the case for a public option and launched a campaign to get a public option included through reconciliation,” PCCC’s Greene says.

According to Greene, PCCC’s first action was requesting their online members to start calling their representatives in Congress – but the calls had little effect. Then House members Jared Polis of Colorado and Chellie Pingree of Maine wrote a letter pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a public option in the Senate bill, and they started asking their House colleagues to sign on.

“They [Polis and Pingree] expected to get just 15 signatures,” says Green. But once PCCC asked their online members to encourage their representatives to sign the letter, it exploded. They got 120 signatures in the end.

“It was good for Polis – it increased his standing with his colleagues,” says Greene. “It made our members feel good because they could see how effective their advocacy is, and it was good for the issue by getting us media attention.”

They hope to build on that experience through P Street – organizing the online progressive community to get behind members of Congress who are pushing progressive legislation, and pressing those on the fence to sign on.

“No one has done this in a strategic, organized way. And so many of these progressive staffers feel like they’re alone, not talking to each other. We can help bring them together,” says P Street’s Thomas.

The PCCC will announce P street Saturday at a Netroots Nation panel on “inside-outside” organizing. As of now, P Street has only one staffer, but a fundraising drive is planned to grow it to include researchers and additional lobbyists.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. ib

    I think progressives are like the far left liberals and notice I did say far left; both are out to destroy our way of life in this country as we now know it. I don't agree with them at all.

    July 24, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. USN

    Why don't "progressives" just call it socialist . They use to be the communist party but the name didn't ring with the American people. I guess thats what they do , change the name to sound better , same idea's

    July 24, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Dave

    Nuts are in charge of agendas and primaries in this country.

    July 24, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. chris

    One facet of the anti-Washington establishment fervor sweeping the country is the undue influence of lobbyists. As this article points out, there are very few progressive lobbyists, and none with the power and influence of those of K Street. The vast majority of lobbyists come from the corporate, right hand end of the political spectrum. While K Street does contribute to Democrats, so they can cast a wide net, the GOP is very much the focus of their money and attention.

    Its ironic that right-wing "throw the bums out" groups like the Tea Partiers are so against the Washington culture of lobbyists. But it is the Republicans who are solidly in the pocket of the K Street.

    July 24, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Sarah Palin

    I wish CNN and the other zionist owned news networks would stop the constant race baiting. I can see right through all the racial propaganda to ignite a race war between blacks and whites. Alot of people know that there is a plan to exterminate blacks in the inner cities all across America. CNN and other news networks demonize blacks and potray blacks in a negative light everyday to scare already paranoid whites like those idiot tea partyers. Sherrod, Rangel, new black panther party. All these these things are being used to scare whites and paint blacks as racist with power. You know damn well blacks have no political or economic power in this country and Obama is just working for the zionist globalist. By exploiting Rangel that represents the demise of the so called black political poewer in this country. But the thing is , blacks never had power. Before Hitler exterminated people in Germany they used propaganda to demonize certain people to justify mass murdering them. The same is happening with blacks in this country. CNN are demonizing blacks to justifity the hatred and mass murder of inner city blacks in this country. It is a very slick and clever plan by the zionist owned media who despise blacks and want to demoralized and destroyed them.

    July 24, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Caton Everley

    Progressives believe in taxing the people into slavery so that the federal government can "give" us a wonderful, easy life. It just won't work, unless the Constitution is ignored and all conservative ideals are destroyed, including the belief in Almighty God for support. Keep in mind that the greatest country in world history has already been built without "progressive" ideals, so what the devil would we want to destroy what we have already built?

    July 24, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. AZ Senior

    Sounds like good checks and balance practice to me. Do it!

    July 24, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. katiec

    All voters need to sit up and take notice. Too many are listening to and believing the hypocrasy, distortions, lies put out by the right,
    Their latest gimmick was they voted against the extension of unemployment benefits because of no funding, but are pushing, supporting the tax cuts, perks etc for the rich which will add an UNFUNDED $3.5 TRILLION to our deficit.,
    The republicans have proven over And over their undying love and support for Wall St over the survival, welfare of us and our country, pushiing their politics as usual which almost destroyed our country,
    With their unAmerican goals and actions they are well on their way to becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    July 24, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Dave, Illinois

    Progressive = those who believe that the general pupulation are too ignorant to run their own lives and only some enlightened few in the government have the knowledge to form them into "good" citizens. That is why religion and other forms of expression in another power than the government are a threat to them. Progressives are not liberals in a traditional sense. True Liberals were more "live and let live" people. Progressives have a ruthless agenda....

    July 24, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Dennis

    I am not sure that the answer to the greed and corruption of K Street is more lobbyists. We should get the lobbyists OUT of Washington and the real interests of the PEOPLE in.

    July 24, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Keith in Austin

    All those interested in joining the P Street movement will be given the following gifts to welcome them into the fold;

    A new pair of Birkenstoks

    a free bag of granola

    Karl Marx autobiography and copy of the Koran

    Autographed picture of Bozo smoking weed.

    Foodstamps for life.

    A sign fit for carrying blaming George Bush

    July 24, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Marie MD

    How about everyone working together instead of all of these little branches of progressives and teabagger caucases?
    I am sick and tired of electing officials to do their job, meaning help their constituents, and everyone looking out for themselves.
    Unless we can stop the lobbyists for big oil, banks and the halliburtons of the world no more branches.

    July 24, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Sarah Palin

    I wish CNN and the other zionist owned news networks would stop the constant race baiting. I can see right through all the racial propaganda to ignite a race war between blacks and whites. Alot of people know that there is a plan to exterminate blacks in the inner cities all across America. CNN and other news networks demonize blacks and potray blacks in a negative light everyday to scare already paranoid whites like those idiot tea partyers. Sherrod, Rangel, new black panther party. All these these things are being used to scare whites and paint blacks as racist with power. You know damn well blacks have no political or economic power in this country and Obama is just working for the zionist globalist. By exploiting Rangel that represents the demise of the so called black political poewer in this country. But the thing is , blacks never had power. Before Hitler exterminated people in Germany they used propaganda to demonize certain people to justify mass murdering them. The same is happening with blacks in this country. CNN are demonizing blacks to justifity the hatred and mass murder of inner city blacks in this country. It is a very slick and clever plan by the zionist owned media who despise blacks and want to demoralized and destroyed them.

    Some of us are not that dumb and can see right through the RACE game that CNN and other 'news' networks are doing. Whether its the Sherrod story or Rangel CNN knows how to create propaganda and scare whites into thinking that blacks have some power in this country and are racist. Some of us know that Obama could care less about blacks.In the inner cities like Philadelphia, Chicago Newark and other places where there are large numbers of blacks will be exterminated. the swine flu vaccinations did not work last year. HAARP technolgy is responsible for the massive heat waves throughout the states. I would not be surprise if a major disater hits the inner cities where large number of blacks reside. Like Haiti and Katrina blacks will be exterminated in large numbers. We will see the actor Anderson Cooper once again after the disater hits, holding homeless black kids in his arms smurking on TV. We know that the black panther party was created by the CIA. Using so called black hate groups to scare whites into supporting Prince Willianm's cousin Sarah Palin in 2012. Palin is descended from the Stewert line a Merovogian isn't she? British Israelism plan to take over the world with Prince William inheriting the throne becoming christ and Sarah Palin a Stewart becoming president in 2012. Palin is a cousin to Princess Diana. Evertyhing is being put in place to exterminate blacks and to destroy the puppet Obama.

    July 24, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. jim

    Just a bunch of communist going underground and changing their name in order to try to achieve what they otherwise would not. Please people don't be deceived by these activist that will do anything including lying about their name in order to achieve their vision for America.

    July 24, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. buccakenji

    The term pissant describes Obama, the progressives and their movement as aptly as possible. Nothing has been a threat to American values as much as this administration.

    July 24, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Progressive Texan

    America needs this movement! Most Americans fall into the "progressive" camp and not with the hateful Tea Bag or the wildly liberal crowds. Most of us want common-sense solutions to create better lives for all Americans. We want a clean environment, a level-playing field for business and labor, affordable health-care, respect for all religions including those who choose not to practice religion, and fair treatment for persons of all races and cultures. We don't really care about your sexual preferences – it's none of our business. We're not mad at Cuba, in love with Israel, or willing to police the world's trouble spots. We hate abortion, but leave those decisions to women, their doctors, and their spiritual mentors. We love America and have no interests toward succession. We know the world's economy and political environment is dynamic and complex and recognize the inability of states to operate at that level. These examples show common ground between many (most?) Americans. Don't we deserve a voice in the political arena?

    July 24, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Gil

    Good! Maybe P Street can wet down the teabuggers and their total ignorance and racism. I notice they are already beginning to eat their own, not just other republicans. They are becoming a laughing stock with resignations etc.. Even a neighbor has distanced herself from the teabuggers! Go P Street!

    July 24, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Indiana Voter

    Progressives ARE the Liberal left and just as dangerous. They are a part of the racist democrat party and a very hate-filled group of people. Gil is one of them. Then there are people like Marie MD, who don't know they are one and try to all of a sudden distance themselves from it, but they still hurl insults with the "teabagger" name calling insult. Face it Democrats, your party is the liberal progressive party and whether you like it or not, you are a part of it. It is your party that is cracking and losing it's majority in November.

    July 24, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. I now own a piece of paper that says I own gold,hahaha

    Yes we can defeat the Corporate scumbags,like the one in Austin,who is paid to spill his filth on here 24/7.

    July 24, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. roro

    It's about time. We need these people to lobby for the middle class in this country. Progressives aren't communists or socialists. They are just those among us who care about the little people, and not the elite and wealthy, who control everything. Main Street needs P Street.

    July 24, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. I can see it coming

    This won't stop until we have another Civil War. How sad that humanity can never settle their disputes without killing each other.

    July 24, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Lets send Rush and Sarah the bill.

    We will take Socialism anyday over Corporate Fascist,One World scumbags anyday,they just want slave labor for everyone.

    July 24, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |