Not good. Michael Barone explains:
Almost all incumbent House Democrats voted against a free-trade measure as innocuous as the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Protectionism has become a partisan issue, with virtually all Democrats for and most Republicans against. So you can score a Democratic victory, like this year’s, as a victory for protectionism. It will certainly have consequences. Trade promotion authority lapses on June 30 next year, and the chances that the Democratic Congress will renew it are close to zero. The Doha round of world trade talks is currently stalled and unlikely to be renewed in time for an agreement to be sent to Congress. In any case, the fact that the Agriculture committees will be chaired by Tom Harkin from corn-growing Iowa and Collin Peterson from the wheat-growing Minnesota Seventh District means that the 2007 farm bill will not meet the standards of any Doha agreement that could conceivably be reached. The lapsing of trade promotion authority will doom the regional and two-country trade agreements that special trade representatives Robert Zoellick, Rob Portman, and Susan Schwab have been negotiating. We won’t be moving toward more protectionism, probably. But we’re going to miss many chances to advance free trade.