So the Republican Party can shoot straight.

On Thursday, the GOP-controlled House embraced common sense and passed a two-year budget deal that avoids another crippling government shutdown.

The vote was 332-94 with 169 Republicans approving the legislation including Blaine Luetkemeyer. The more than $1 trillion budget negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) now goes to the Senate for an expected vote next week.

It was a defining moment for a party that had appeared to be losing its grip on reality.

For the first time since they took back the House in 2010, a strong majority of Republicans have rejected the political absolutism encouraged by the professional right that mired Congress in gridlock for years and culminated in a government shutdown this fall as Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer aptly noted in Politico.

We say it’s about time the party woke up and smelled the roses. Extremism and intransigence were not serving the GOP’s greater good in budget negotiations or on most issues. Americans were turned off by it which was the clear and painful lesson from the most recent budget fiasco.

The budget deal was far from perfect as Luetkemeyer noted in a statement after the vote, but it was the best Ryan and the Republicans could do in a divided government. It does contain $23 billion in net deficit reduction and replaces the previous sequestration cuts with more balanced cuts in spending.

If the Senate passes the measure it would represent the first time in years that the federal government operated on an actual budget rather than on continuing resolutions.

The agreement is a byproduct of compromise which is a good strategy for moving the country forward and for Republicans heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.

The trials and tribulations of the Obamacare rollout have given the GOP the best Christmas present they could ever wish for. The party is poised to capitalize on the country’s mounting frustrations with the president’s health care plan so long as it can avoid its own self-destructive tendencies. There is a way forward for the party to capture the Senate and the White House if it can broaden its base and chart a course that is more inclusive and less extreme. The far right calls that capitulation, but the American people call that good governance.

This week’s vote shows that Republicans are more savvy than their recent missteps would suggest.