Pro-business Democrats run afoul of liberals Democrat Melissa Bean fights for business interests in D.C. By Tory Newmyer, writer

FORTUNE -- Melissa Bean, a third-term representative from Illinois, is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's radar, and not in a good way. Bean, a fellow Democrat who represents a wealthy swath of Chicago's northwest suburbs, crossed Pelosi back in December when she held up the financial reform bill to negotiate better terms for banks. And in May, she and other Wall Street-friendly Democrats forced the Speaker to scale back a package of tax cuts and benefits extensions for the unemployed because they objected to the measure's tax on venture capitalists.

But now that it's election season, Pelosi needs to do all she can to protect Bean and other members of the pro-business New Democrat Coalition, a 69-member group founded in 1997. With at least 68 competitive seats to defend (two more than what non-partisan political handicapper Charlie Cook was projecting at deadline for the print version of this story), the party's best hope for holding on to a majority in the House this November may be these New Dems.

New Dems have spent the past two years making a name for themselves as corporate champions in a party that's frequently hostile to big business. Hailing from affluent suburban districts, coalition members represent voters that Democrats have courted eagerly in their bid to build a lasting majority: upwardly mobile, socially progressive, market oriented.

Unlike the Blue Dog Democrats, the coalition of rural Southerners who focus on deficits, New Dems fancy themselves technocrats, diving into issues from trade to energy. The approach has yielded some big, if largely unheralded, wins for industry. The group sank a provision in last year's mortgage reform bill that would have allowed judges to renegotiate bankruptcy terms, for example, and it helped ease banks' exposure to state consumer protection laws in the Wall Street reform package. (Big business has returned the love: Companies that have contributed to the coalition's political action committee include AT&T (T, Fortune 500), General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), and Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500).)

And New Dems have friends in high places. President Barack Obama last year declared, "I am a New Democrat." His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was a member when he served in the House. Coalition members, in turn, have largely lined up behind the administration's agenda. That makes them vulnerable with independents who are souring on Obama; they also may struggle with liberals who distrust corporations. But politicians like Bean benefit from their ties to business in more ways than one. She's remained popular with voters in her district, and she's likely to defeat her Tea Party-backed opponent in the fall -- thanks, in part, to a $1.17 million war chest.  To top of page

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 8.29 0.05 0.61%
Advanced Micro Devic... 54.59 0.70 1.30%
Cisco Systems Inc 47.49 -2.44 -4.89%
General Electric Co 13.00 -0.16 -1.22%
Kraft Heinz Co 27.84 -2.20 -7.32%
Data as of 2:44pm ET
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 26,664.40 236.08 0.89%
Nasdaq 10,902.80 157.52 1.47%
S&P 500 3,294.61 23.49 0.72%
Treasuries .56 0.03 5.04%
Data as of 5:19am ET


Bankrupt toy retailer tells bankruptcy court it is looking at possibly reviving the Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us brands. More

Land O'Lakes CEO Beth Ford charts her career path, from her first job to becoming the first openly gay CEO at a Fortune 500 company in an interview with CNN's Boss Files. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.