CONGRESS has passed legislation that will end the partial shutdown of the federal government and allow for more borrowing to avoid a default.
That's progress, Washington style. It's tantamount to bailing a floundering lifeboat with a teaspoon.
Still, it had to be done. The country - make that the world - was seriously questioning whether the United States was about to sink.
Yes, Americans can return to national monuments and hyper-sensitive Wall Street can calm down . . . for now, thanks to an act of legislative triage.
But really significant problems remain.
Washington's political dysfunction is reaching new lows. The legislative and executive branches could not reach agreement on even the most basic responsibility - funding the government - until it approached a crisis.
Ideologues rail against compromise, but no government can function without give and take. In negotiations, an astute minority doesn't overplay its hand, and a wise majority never squeezes the minority into humiliating submission because it knows that roles will one day be reversed.
But now deals in the nation's capital are harder to come by than parking spaces. Trust is a scarce commodity.