The Corner

Conservatives Need to Ask Why Democrats Like GOP Leadership’s Cromnibus Idea So Much

When Democrats are totally on board with a Republican-proposed spending bill, Republicans should think long and hard about the merits of whatever’s being considered. As it happens, Democrats are really quite okay with the idea of a cromnibus, House Republican leadership’s current plan for funding the government into next year.

Outgoing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid likes it:

The key issue is the government funding bill, and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) strategy for avoiding a shutdown and ending the 113th Congress won surprising support Tuesday from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who suggested the proposal would be “a big accomplishment.”

Reid’s support makes it much more likely that Boehner’s proposal of a “cromnibus” could become law.

And he’s calling it a policy win:

Reid, who has made passing an omnibus spending bill one of his top priorities of the lame-duck session, said he would consider House passage of the “cromnibus” a policy win.

“That would be a big accomplishment if we could get a bill over here that would fund all the appropriations subcommittees except for one,” Reid told reporters. “I think it’s kind of unfortunate that they’re talking about not doing Homeland Security but that’s the way it is.

President Obama likes it too:

Although the White House is pushing for the full funding of the government, those close to Obama privately suggest the president would likely sign the legislation, assuming the major components of the bill don’t change.

“Republicans still don’t have an endgame or any idea how they could conceivably roll back the president’s actions, and a solution isn’t going to magically appear in the next few months,” boasted a former senior administration official. “I think the president is comfortable getting almost everything he wants now since he doesn’t have a whole lot to lose by watching Republicans combust later.”

Such confidence is rooted in Republicans’ inability to explain exactly how they would craft a bill that keeps certain DHS activities funded and simultaneously halts the president’s executive action. And even some conservatives have accused House leadership of stalling in hopes of finding a more cohesive strategy.

This ought to give Republicans pause. Democrats took a lashing in this fall’s elections — should the president really be getting everything he wants considering that pretty much everyone agrees that voters voted against him in the midterms? (This is, by the way, not the first time Speaker Boehner relies on Democrats to pass legislation.)

So here’s my question, again: Why pass an omnibus bill rather than a CR bill that keeps the government funded at its current levels until the end of the fiscal year? An omnibus bill allows for higher level of spending as as starting point. This idea is hard to reconcile with the claims that Republicans want to cut spending. (And add these concerns to talk of more defense spending, no cuts to excessive DOD personal benefits, continued support for crony programs, and more.)

I guess they can claim that they want to avoid a government shutdown. That means that the next budget will be the real test — and I, for one, will be watching.

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