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Another government shutdown averted -- for now

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill might have a hard time finding consensus on how to get to the bathroom, but they do know how to push the political drama envelope to the limit.

With just seven hours to go before federal funding ran dry, the House of Representatives approved a continuing resolution measure Wednesday night. The Senate had taken similar action hours earlier. President Obama reportedly signed the stop-gap funding bill late yesterday.

As federal employees surely are aware, the continuing resolution does not end the threat of a shutdown. It only keeps the government functioning through Dec. 11. That should ease pains for a while.

But as we noted in a post early last month, it might not be a bad idea for federal workers to do a quick review of what transpired in the last go-round in 2013. For no other reason, it may be helpful in understanding what may be required if a shutdown does occur and it triggers employment disputes.

Commenting on the to-the-brink action, the White House called on Congress to end such "last-minute, short-term legislating." It also called for a budget that reverses the automatic spending cut -- sequestration -- that would reduce funding if no agreement were to be reached.

The work of negotiating a longer-term budget is said to be getting underway. But pundits suggest it is bound to be a hard slog because of Republican infighting and because Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insists that Democratic leaders in Congress should not be at the bargaining table. McConnell wants direct talks with the president.

Stay tuned is about the only thing anyone can possibly say in such circumstances.

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