Washington is celebrating a modest victory because the House of Representatives last week passed legislation to finance the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. This "continuing resolution" sets funding for all but military programs below their 2012 levels (once sequestration is factored in).
If the Senate can reach agreement with the House, and if President Barack Obama deems the result fit to sign, the federal government will avert the kind of manufactured crisis at which it has excelled in recent years. But it will also encourage Congress's penchant for slapdash budgeting that preceded the current era of sequestration and fiscal Russian roulette.
Last week's continuing resolution is not so much an aberration as the latest reminder of Congress's chronic failure to fulfill the core requirement of its job: taxing and spending. According to the Congressional Research Service, lawmakers last met their own deadline for appropriations in 1997.