Here's the deal...
It isn't grand in terms of national policy, but the deal announced by the House and Senate budget committees chairmen - Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray - is a grand achievement in other ways.
Most important is that it is a two-year cease-fire that precludes the specter of a government shutdown every few months. As demonstrated by the most recent use of the government and its creditworthiness as negotiating leverage, the economy craves the certainty inherent in a functioning government.
And the cease-fire on the fundamental budget issues creates the prospect that lawmakers finally will focus on major matters that have languished amid the political bloodshed - tax reform, immigration reform, entitlement security, long-term farm and nutrition programs and so on.
The deal itself, by providing an additional $63 billion in spending over two years, would nearly eliminate the impact of the woeful sequestration process on the military. And it would ensure restoration of funding for basic research through the National Institutes of Health, Head Start and a few other domestic programs.
As in any compromise, purists on both sides of the aisle were disappointed in some aspects of the agreement. Democrats lamented that it does not include an extension in unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people, which will expire Dec. 28. Republicans complained that the deal forgoes some immediate budget cuts for the promise of deeper cuts and tax reform later.
Such disappointment is the nature of compromise. The modest agreement will become a grand one if more lawmakers become willing to give in order to get on a broader scale.