Budget success: House passage is moderately encouraging

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Passage of a bipartisan budget bill for the next two years by the House of Representatives and likely positive action by the Senate next week is a welcome development.

Apart from the content of the bill, which, of necessity, included some compromises on important issues, simply the fact that the House, and likely the Senate, were able to reach agreement on this important legislation is a positive sign and a welcome contrast to some of the gridlocked nonsense that has driven Americans to hold this Congress in low esteem this year.

Another positive development accompanying House passage of the bill in a hefty, bipartisan, 332-94 vote, the first such budget legislation in more than four years, is that Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, took on some of his party’s problems in the process. He showed anger at Tea Party members’ destructive intransigence in comments before the vote, reflecting the general disgust of moderate Americans at some Republicans’ take-no-prisoners approach to Congress’ work.

Whether Democrat or Republican most Americans continue to believe in the two-party system and deplore the current, common inability of the two parties’ legislators to work together to do the country’s business as they are paid by the taxpayers to do.

Eventual passage of the budget bill itself by the Senate, and signature by President Barack Obama, will avoid several grave problems. The first was another potential government shutdown for lack of financing authorization, definitely no way to run a railroad. The second was avoidance of more automatic sequestration cuts. Although most Americans continue to believe that both America’s budget deficits and its national debt need to be reduced, unthinking cuts are not the way to accomplish those goals.

Conservatives believe the budget is still too big. Liberals say the bill’s non-extension of long-term unemployment benefits constitutes unwarranted, untimely punishment of America’s millions of people still looking unsuccessfully for work.

The House has now adjourned for another lengthy holiday. The Senate is due to depart Washington next week. Passage of a budget means they at least did the minimum, eliciting a faint whoopee.


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