02/12/2014 08:42 am ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

Fever Breaking? Clean Debt Ceiling Bill Passes House

Mark Wilson via Getty Images

Speaker John Boehner brought a clean bill to increase the debt ceiling to the floor of the House tonight, and it passed with mostly Democrat votes.

From the New York Times:

The vote - 221-201 - relied primarily on Democrats to carry the legislation, the first debt ceiling increase since 2009 that was not attached to other measures. Only 28 Republicans voted yes. But it effectively ended a three-year, Tea Party-fueled era when a series of budget showdowns raised the threat of debt defaults and government shutdowns, rattled economic confidence and brought serious scrutiny from an international community questioning Washington's ability to govern.

So, when an arsonist doesn't burn down the House [sic] do you praise him for self-restraint or just go about your business because, you know, you're not supposed to burn things down? I say you praise. I mean, as an arsonist, he's conditioned to being destructive.

I give Speaker Boehner credit for standing up to those who would take an economically dangerous, ideological stand, motivated by narrow self-interest at great risk to the many.

Now, is this evidence that the DC fever that's blocked compromise and fed dysfunction is breaking... that someone's found the key to unlock the gridlock? Surely not in any big way, and both this and the recent bipartisan budget deal were born less out of the urge to compromise with the opposition than to avoid hurting your own brand.

But the long journey begins with a step in the right direction as this is surely such a step.

This post originally appeared at Jared Bernstein's On The Economy blog.