If Congress and the President have indeed reached a deal to avert an unprecedented default, then South Dakotans will shift their attention to the unfinished business of passing a farm bill.
While the government shutdown and potential default was inevitably going to consume members of Congress, the reported deal postpones the next fiscal crisis to the beginning of 2014. That provides a month or so for Congress to work on the farm bill before the holidays start interrupting the session.
Since some leaders have specifically talked about passing a bill before the year end, the window is now open for resolution.
The spotlight moves to the conference committee that is intended to work out the differences between a Senate bill passed in June and two bills passed by the House that will be combined in the negotiations.
The task is hard enough, with sharp division between Senate and House, Republicans and Democrats. But the farm bill also includes two distinct issues, farm programs and nutrition programs like food stamps.
The Dakotas will be represented in the conference committee by Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota. However, we're certain that party leadership will be involved behind closed doors, which could complicate negotiations and a potential compromise.
It's hard to be an optimist when writing about Congress, but a passed-and-signed farm bill by Christmas would be great for our state and the nation.