Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced this week his opposition to a trade deal fast track bill made to streamline trade bills’ passage through Congress, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Reid’s announcement and the actions of Democrats have placed the party on the populist-progressive side of the TPP issue.

President Obama, a centrist Democrat, now has the Senate’s top Democrat and the majority of House Democrats lined up against him on the TPP and fast track bill issue. Frustrations not only stem from the president keeping his party out of TPP draft discussions, but also the threat that the trade deal poses to workers’ rights and its corporate protection provisions. Reid and fellow Democrats finally showed some gall and collectively took a stand against the fast-track bill and TPP. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • The TPP extends corporate freedoms and incentives. Like NAFTA, the TPP rewards corporations that outsource labor to foreign countries where workers will work for less compensation.

  • The TPP undermines financial regulation and makes consumers and the economy vulnerable to corporate malfeasance. The Glass-Steagall firewall the separates customer money from the banks’ investment money will be blocked, and the TPP nullifies transaction taxes made to combat financial speculation.

  • Corporations can sue foreign governments, and foreign corporations can sue ours. A corporation can file a lawsuit before a foreign trade tribunal if it thinks there are any laws that can impede upon its profits. The company will be awarded a settlement if favored and will be allowed to install itself.

  • Big Pharma companies will enjoy extended patents on drugs. This provision gives drug companies more control over the market prices of pharmaceuticals as generic drug makers would have to wait longer to obtain permission to produce medicines.

  • Copyright protection for corporations would be extended to 120 years and information, once free, would be considered trading information that would force users into paid viewership.

  • The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), is the fast-track bill designed to kill any Congressional debate over trade deals. Congress members would be forced into a straight up-or-down vote, disallowed any discussion or debate over trade deals as they would be rendered unamendable.

The TPP and fast-track bill have been championed by Obama and some Republicans, with Tea Partiers opposing anything that Obama supports, like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). However, Hatch did criticize Obama for his lukewarm, almost blase public support of the TPP and fast-track bill.

But this sort of gumption exuded by Reid and the Democrats is just the staunch opposition to bad policy they need to exercise, should they want to be successful this year. Applause to Reid for finally showing some backbone. And to his own party’s president, no less.

Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.