In this highly polarized Congress, it counts as a major achievement merely to pass a bill that funds the government’s activities. So pop the champagne, because we have a budget. It even passed the House Tuesday afternoon with wide bipartisan support, a feat usually only achieved these days by symbolic feel-good resolutions. Senate passage and Obama's signature are expected to follow soon.
But don’t get too excited. When it comes to the environment, the omnibus spending bill marks only marginal progress over the incredibly low standards that have been set in recent years. And it includes multiple riders inserted by House Republicans to undermine environmental regulation.