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Stan Collender Is a Somewhat Happy Camper

He is happy that the Congress, now Democrat-led, is efficiently doing its fiscal business for the first time in living memory:

*Give Them Some Credit * I have been more than a little surprised at how fast the House and Senate Budget Committees and the full Senate have been able to pass their versions of the FY08 congressional budget resolution. The real test -- a compromise that will be able to pass the House and Senate -- is still ahead. But in the meantime, the fact that a budget resolution is moving ahead at all, let along so quickly, is noteworthy.

The main criticism about the budget resolutions working their way through the House and Senate has been that they don't do much. But it's been obvious since last year's midterm election that incremental change was all that was likely this year and the best that anyone should expect. The narrow margins in the House and Senate, extreme partisanship, and a Congress and White House controlled by different political parties meant from the start that a budget deal of any kind was extremely unlikely.... [B]ut it should be taken as a positive development and hopeful sign if Congress adopts a budget resolution conference report this year.... [E]ven though the House and Senate were controlled by the same political party last year they were not able to agree on a budget resolution.... [T]his has the possibility of being a turning point....

A focus on appropriations was virtually preordained by the 2006 election. Congress' failure to adopt more than two of the FY07 appropriations became a symbol for its overall lack of accomplishments and an issue for the voters. The House and Senate leadership wants to show it can make the congressional railroad run on time and the FY08 appropriations will be the most visible way to do that...