The PJ Tatler

With Cracks in Both Caucuses, $1.1 Trillion Cromnibus Passes House

Congress likes to keep its holiday traditions, such as averting a shutdown mere moments before the deadline.

With even Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledging the “cromnibus” nickname for the continuing resolution and omnibus hybrid, the $1.1 trillion spending bill squeaked by on a 219-206 vote.

It wasn’t just the Republicans who were falling away, but the Democrats were splintered — so much so that President Obama and Vice President Biden were ringing up Dems during the day and urging “yes” votes.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted the deal that funds most of the government through Sept. 30 but the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27. Hoyer, meanwhile, rallied Dems to pass it. Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) sided with Hoyer.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) argued that this was the best way to tackle Obama’s immigration actions in the new year with a GOP majority Senate and House.

“Over the 10-year window, we’re on-track to save taxpayers nearly $2.1 trillion. This bill also supports our national defense, particularly our efforts to defeat and destroy ISIL,” Boehner told reporters today. “It prevents a taxpayer bailout of Obamacare’s ‘risk corridor’ program while cutting funding for the IRS and the EPA.”

Some Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), were upset over alterations to the Wall Street reform bill included in the CR.

“While some members may have an objection to this issue or that issue, nobody did this unilaterally,” Boehner said. “We’ve done this in a bipartisan fashion and, frankly, it’s a good bill.”

In the end, 67 Republicans voted against the cromnibus. Fifty-seven Democrats voted for it.

“This bill funds the Department of Homeland Security, which would provide for much of the President’s immigration plan, at existing levels only into the beginning of next year. Then, Republicans will control both the House and the Senate next Congress and will be in a much stronger position to fight the President’s executive overreach on immigration,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who blocked amendments in committee last night to defund Obama’s immigration orders. “That is why I fought to ensure that the House Rules Committee will allow for a vote on the House floor in January on a measure to block the President’s executive amnesty plan.”

“I remain strongly opposed to the President’s unconstitutional executive amnesty and I look forward to strategically fighting against his amnesty plan early next month in the beginning of the new Congress,” Sessions added.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) voted against the bill, saying he was disappointed that it provided funds for Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional executive actions.”

“The president’s executive action on immigration is unconstitutional,” agreed Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). “I can’t in good conscience support something that goes against the Constitution – not for 3 months, a week or even a day.”

The spending bill gets kicked back to the Senate on Friday. The upper chamber was expected to pass a 2-day spending bill tonight to allow time for debate.

The House gave a hearty standing ovation to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), casting his last vote as the longest serving member of Congress in history. The departure of Dingell and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) means there are no more World War II veterans in Congress.

Dingell, 88, and Hall, 91, served a combined 46 terms, or 92 years, in the House.