The following appeared Sunday in The Washington Post:

Demonstrating its limitless capacity for wrangling over the trivial while letting serious problems fester, Congress has spent weeks fighting over a sliver of the budget. Republicans want to cut spending by $61 billion for the fiscal year that's already almost half over. Senate Democrats countered with proposed cuts of $10 billion. The distance narrowed Friday when the House proposed another three-week stopgap measure containing another $6 billion in cuts.

The squabble over the remaining $45 billion is almost entirely beside the point. Lurching from one continuing resolution to another, with the threat of shutdown looming, is the epitome of bad government. ...

Whatever number is the ultimate resolution of the quarrel over non-security discretionary spending, the truly serious work of deficit reduction lies ahead.