A very odd thing seems like it may happen this week.
If talks continue to progress, Congress seems fairly likely to make a deal on the 2014 budget before adjourning for the year that both lifts some of the sequester burden and takes the fear of another shutdown off the table for another 12 months.
It seems hard to believe given all the nation has suffered at the hands of Washington in the last three years. But there is a decent chance that the economy, which is clearly picking up a little speed, may get a year's reprieve from anymore self-inflicted Beltway wounds.
Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan are reportedly close to a deal that would fund the government for the next year at slightly above $1 trillion, a number above the $967 billion called for in the 2011 Budget Control Act. The negotiators, who could move their deal before the full House and Senate this week, would offset any deficit increase by raising government fees on airline tickets and perhaps trims to federal worker benefits and military pensions, among other possibilities.
The emerging deal is not a slam dunk with either party.
(Read more: DC squabbling could still wreck the economy in 2014)
Democrats are concerned about the benefit cuts and the fact that the agreement seems unlikely to further extend emergency unemployment benefits. Many also say it does not do enough to mitigate the 2014 sequester cuts. Republicans, especially conservatives in the House, are wary of adding any spending beyond the level agreed to in 2011, even if it's offset without raising taxes.