Somewhat surprisingly, budget leaders Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have announced an agreement tonight, several days before the deadline for a budget deal. They had to file their bill with the House clerk before midnight or the leadership would have had to violate the House rules to avoid delaying congresspeople’s Christmas vacation. They’re trying to ram their budget home at the last minute so that opponents will have no time to organize against it.

The bill isn’t very exciting. Federal workers and veteran’s are getting hosed. Air travelers will pay higher fees. There’s no help to the unemployed. The Pentagon gets most of their money back. And discretionary spending will be higher that it would have been under terms of the Budget Control Act.

We’ll see if the Republicans are more inclined to follow Ryan’s leadership than they have been to follow Boehner’s.

As for the Democrats, I’d recommend holding Christmas hostage until an unemployment benefit extension is part of the deal.

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