Obama backs 'cromnibus' ahead of vote

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The White House on Thursday urged the House to pass a $1.1 trillion government spending package despite riders it opposes that would repeal a portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and loosen limits on campaign contributions. 

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“The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 83, making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015, and for other purposes,” a statement of administration policy said.

The statement was released about an hour before the House was scheduled to vote on a “cromnibus” spending bill, in an effort to win over critical Democratic votes and prevent a government shutdown. GOP leaders are expecting a number of conservatives to defect, so they’ll need Democrats to push the bill over the threshold. 

Congress must pass a new spending bill before Friday, or the government will close. 

In the statement, the White House said a provision on swaps that would allow banks to directly engage in derivatives trading would “weaken a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk.” 

Many Democrats have balked at the provision that would permanently change Dodd-Frank — the rider that could put the bill at risk.

President Obama is also opposed to the campaign finance provision that would allow donors to contribute to national political parties in amounts “that are dramatically higher than what the law currently permits,” the statement said.

The White House said it’s “disappointed” that, while the spending bill contains 11 appropriations bills, it also contains a continuing resolution (CR) that only funds the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27. GOP leaders decided to include the CR to satisfy conservatives who want to bring down Obama's executive orders on immigration early next year when they take the majority.

The administration, however, said it appreciated funding for national security priorities, including $5 billion to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and $5.4 billion to combat the Ebola epidemic.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the "compromise proposal merits bipartisan support on Capitol Hill," and the president hoped that he would be able to sign the legislation in the coming days.

Earnest said the legislation fulfilled "many of the top-line priorities" of the president and he anticipated the legislation would garner both Democratic and Republican support.

"If there are Democrats who do choose to support this piece of legislation, there's ample reasons for them to do so," Earnest said.

"The president supports passage of this compromise proposal," the White House spokesman said.

Earnest said the president's decision to support the law was driven significantly over concerns that a shutdown could harm the economy and that continued government operations were "important to our economy."

He said that the White House was heartened the bill funded independent regulatory agencies that examined Wall Street and that it did "not include riders that would significantly gut the president's ability to implement the Affordable Care Act" or his immigration action. He also said the bill included adequate funding for federal efforts to fight climate change.

But Earnest echoed concerns over provisions in the bill that would roll back elements of Dodd-Frank and expand campaign spending. Still, Earnest said, those concerns represented some of the compromises necessary to craft a bill and would not lead the president to veto the bill.

— Justin Sink contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:22 p.m.