What is the ‘cromnibus?’

What is the ‘cromnibus?’
© Francis Rivera

Both chambers of Congress on Tuesday appeared to be leaning toward moving something called a “cromnibus” to fund the government through next year.

The cromnibus isn’t some tasty new donut. It’s a combination of a long-term omnibus spending bill and a shorter-term continuing resolution (CR). 

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Here’s how it would break down.

Omnibus

The omnibus portion of the spending package would contain 11 appropriations bills that would fund most government agencies until next September.

The only agency that wouldn’t be included in the omnibus would be the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans want to fund that department for a shorter period of time so that they can wage a new battle next year over President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

There's also a difference between how an omnibus package and CR directs money to be spent. 

Regular appropriations bills target funds to specific areas depending on current needs and they're done on a line-by-line basis with much more oversight and accountability, House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said.

CRs, by contrast, merely carry forward previous spending levels and don't allow for new programs to start or for new needs to be met. 

CR

The CR would only fund the Department of Homeland Security until “sometime in March,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

It would be funded at the same level as its existing funding.

The Appropriations panel has not provided any further details about what the CR would include, but it will likely not cut off any funding to immigration-related services for now, despite the demands of some conservatives.

Would Obama sign a cromnibus?

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday reiterated the president would like to see Congress pass a long-term funding bill, but did not say whether Obama would sign or veto a cromnibus package that didn’t extend funding for the Homeland Security agency through September.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.), however, signaled he could support such a measure and would be open to bringing it to the floor if it passed in the House.  

“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.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day After 30 years celebrating women’s history, have we made enough progress? MORE might also accept it because it would at least preserve most of what she had been working on for the omnibus.