So the Republican congress, shamed into action by not wanting to be responsible for triggering the “fiscal cliff”, passed the budget deal which was crafted in the senate. Since that was in doubt it is big news. The really big news, however, is that it even came to a vote. John Boehner, apparently wanting to be an honorable guy, kept his pledge to bring anything the senate passed up for a vote, but the thing is the Republican house had passed a rule which said that they wouldn’t bring anything up for a vote which they couldn’t pass. Under this rule the bill never would have made it through the house. It would have never even come up for a vote, because only one third of Republicans voted for it, the Republicans wouldn’t have passed the bill. So one third of Republicans, and nearly all Democrats, voted for the bill and it passed. And you know what? This is how the house is supposed to act, there is supposed to be the ability to cross party lines, to form coalitions. So what this means is that there is probably a bigger desire in congress to compromise than we are allowed to see due to the arcane rules the Republicans passed to control which legislation makes it to the floor. If they changed those rules we might see a much more effective and less partisan congress than we see now.
As for the bill, it is a shambles that only puts a band aid on our fiscal woes and sets up what will probably be a bigger showdown when the debt ceiling needs to be raised. Unless the house decides to let the members of congress decide what they are willing to vote on.