Another sign that our elected leaders in Washington grow weary of watching "Dysfunction Junction" reruns.

The Associated Press reports that Congress is ready to approve a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, a compromise that keeps the government running through 2014 and funds everything from airports to war costs.

Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the spending plan by the end of the week.

The bill negates an additional $20 billion in automatic sequestration cuts to the Pentagon's budget and cuts to many domestic programs as well.

Like the $63 billion in federal cuts over two years brokered by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray in December, this development serves as another rare achievement for a Congress more used to ideological confrontation than compromise.

And with compromise, both Democrats and Republicans won some and lost some. Earlier, Democrats were upset the Ryan-Murray deal didn't extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

This time around, conservative groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action were urging lawmakers to oppose this spending bill shepherded by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and her counterpart in the House, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.

That's probably because the deal provides money for President Obama's 2010 health-care overhaul and his revamping of federal oversight of the nation's financial markets.


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However, it looks like special interests are taking a back seat again to the will of the body in Congress -- and perhaps the people they serve.

As Mikulski noted, both parties felt pressure from their constituents to work cooperatively.

Memories of last fall's 16-day federal shutdown -- and the public disgust it generated -- were obviously fresh in lawmakers' minds.

"There's a desire to show people we can do our job," Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, told the Associated Press.

The spending bill also provides $75 million in fisheries disaster aid, which will benefit Massachusetts and other Northeast fishermen hit hard by the slow recovery of bottom-dwelling groundfish, such as cod and flounder.

So take heart, the influence of those nattering nabobs of negativism in both parties may be on the wane.

And that's good news for all those in favor of a working democracy.