It turns out that compromise indeed is possible in the 113th Congress.
When it shows itself, we learn that things actually can get done, such as approving a federal budget that keeps the government running through September. The House of Representatives approved the deal overwhelmingly and has sent it back to the Senate hopefully for final approval.
The $1.1 trillion budget deal marks a departure from recent history, where Republicans and Democrats have fought over every big and little thing in the budget. It has produced gridlock, made a lot of people angry, shut down part of the government for a time, forced public opinion of Congress into a sinkhole and redefined the term “political dysfunction.”
Does this signal a new day on Capitol Hill? Probably not. However, one can hope.
Tomorrow might bring a new set of hassles and disagreements, particularly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that seems to have declared its intention to block everything House Democrats and the Democrat in chief in the White House want to do.
The bill reduces funds for the Internal Revenue Service, gives federal workers a 1 percent pay increase and gives money to the Environmental Protection Agency. These measures make Republicans happy. Meanwhile, Democrats got something for themselves, such as funding for Head Start, which helps early childhood education efforts.
No one is entirely happy with the deal, nor are they entirely unhappy.
That’s the spirit of compromise. Things can get done. It’s how you legislate. It’s how good government is supposed to work.
What’s more, it doesn’t inflict nearly the pain that stubborn intransigence can produce.