"Something odd happened here on Tuesday. The Senate advanced a two-year bipartisan budget deal that will now surely be sent to the president for his signature later this week without waiting for a cliff, a chasm, a deadline or a shutdown to force its hand. Just like that, declarations sounded in Washington that the city almost seemed to be working again."
"The assertions may be little solace to competing ends of the ideological spectrum that saw the budget deal as a craven capitulation to the spenders or the cutters, depending on which end was looking at it. But flawed as critics complained it was, the deal represented a break in the paralysis that has gripped the capital for years. The question is whether it will be a turning point that will clear the way for agreements on long-stalled issues like Medicare, the tax code and immigration or simply be an asterisk in the history books. To President Obama and his strategists, the cross-aisle accord offers what one called 'green shoots of hope'that next year may turn out better than this year. Along with the change in filibuster rules making it easier to confirm nominees, the White House sees prospects for progress, even if limited."