Politics & Government

Congressional leaders reach deal on ‘cromnibus’

The U.S. Capitol awaits President Obama's State of the Union address
The U.S. Capitol awaits President Obama's State of the Union address McClatchy

House of Representatives and Senate leaders reached agreement Tuesday night on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep most of the federal government funded through September 2015 and avert a government shutdown this week.

The agreement comes after months of negotiation and days of last-minute wrangling over what would be included or attached to the so-called ‘cromnibus,’ a package of 11 spending bills and measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security only through February 27, 2015.

‘This bill will allow us to fulfill our Constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown,’ said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chair of the House Appropriations Committee. ‘And by continuing current funding levels for the Department of Homeland Security, we allow the agency to maintain essential security functions for the next few months.’

The short-term provision is Republican retaliation for President Barack Obama’s executive action to halt deportations to more than four million people who are living in this country illegally.

The bill adheres to spending levels capped by a two-year agreement hammered out in December 2013 by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The ‘ccromnibus’ provides $521 billion for defense and $492 for non-defense spending.

It also contains Overseas Contingency Operations funding to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State and $5.4 billion in emergency funding to deal with the Ebola crisis domestically and overseas.

Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers have expressed confidence that the massive spending bill will pass before the government runs out of money Thursday. But after the bill’s scheduled unveiling was delayed Monday, House officials began preparing contingency plans to avoid a repeat of last year’s 16-day partial government shutdown.

House aides said the chamber was prepared to vote on a short-term continuing resolution – or CR – to keep the government flush with cash for several days to buy time for the ‘cromnibus’ to pass both chambers. The House still may vote on a CR just in case.