It wasn't pretty but progress was made in Washington this week.

Senate Democrats and Republicans engaged in some brinksmanship over the filibuster, but after looking over the edge, both parties decided it wasn't worth the threat of the "nuclear option" to continue to block President Obama's nominees.

This led to the relatively quick confirmation of the president's picks to head the Labor Department and the Environment Protection Agency. It also led to confirmation of his choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a key agency created to fix weaknesses in the country's financial regulatory system that many believe led to the economic crisis five years ago.

In addition, Senate Democrats and Republicans also reached a deal to reduce interest rates on student loans, with a vote promised early next week.

Despite this movement on Capitol Hill, there were still signs of dysfunction with House Republicans voting for the 38th time to try and derail President Obama's landmark health care reform legislation from taking effect. Dana Millbank noted the GOP was "testing the definition of insanity" by doing the same thing over and over with the same result.

And there are signs Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may have lost control of his Republican caucus, putting him in a similar situation as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has with Republicans in the House.

But progress is progress and it's worth noting when it happens.