‘Cromnibus’ Kabuki Theater, and a possible government shutdown


kabukiThere is some high drama going on in the nation’s capitol today as the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, faces a revolt within his own party and from liberal Democrats to the craptacular “Cromnibus” bill to fund the government and to prevent another government shutdown at midnight tonight. It is “Cromnibus” Kabuki Theater.

On a procedural vote for debating the bill earlier today, the motion passed by a single vote, only after the TanMan strong-armed a couple of his members. High drama as $1.1T spending package advances by one vote:

The House on Thursday narrowly passed a rule to set up debate on the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” government funding bill, in a dramatic vote that for several minutes was on the brink of failing.

By a razor-thin margin of 214-212, the House advances to debating the underlying appropriations bill to avoid a government shutdown at midnight. [Read the full vote breakdown here.]

Not a single Democrat voted for the rule. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) initially cast her vote in favor, then later switched her vote to “no.”

 Geezus, Kyrsten, pay attention! This ain’t rocket science.

That left Republicans to approve the rule on their own. For several minutes, there were more “nay” votes than “yes” votes by 210-213. Then, for a moment, it was tied at 213-213.

It was at that point Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) intervened. Fellow lawmakers and reporters in the gallery could see Boehner personally lobbying conservatives who voted against the rule to switch their votes.

One of the lawmakers who switched was Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), who lost his primary earlier this year and won’t be returning in the new Congress.

Some of you may recall that Rep. Kerry Bentivolio as that weird Tea Party reindeer herder. Reindeer farmer saves ‘cromnibus’ with yes vote.

“No Drama Obama” backs the ‘cromnibus’ ahead of vote, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was uncharacteristically critical of his announcement. Pelosi ‘enormously disappointed’ in Obama:

In a speech decrying the “cromnibus” on the House floor, Minority Leader Pelosi noted that Republican defections have given the Democrats significant leverage in the debate and wondered why the White House wouldn’t use that power to fight the conservative policy riders that have sparked the Democrats’ outcry.

“I’m enormously disappointed that the White House feels that the only way they can get a bill is to go along with this,” Pelosi said. “And that would be the only reason they would sign such a bill that would weaken ‘a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk.’ Those are the words in the administration’s statement.”

Liberal Democrats are up in arms over two GOP amendments to the sweeping year-end spending bill. The first would undo parts of the Democrats’ 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law; the second would allow wealthy donors to give a great deal more money to political parties.

Pelosi and the Democrats have panned those inclusions, arguing that, not only are they bad policies, but they have no business in a government spending bill.

Obama disagrees. In a statement issued Thursday, the White House said it would back the spending package despite reservations over the controversial provisions.

Still pissed at Obama giving Tea-Publicans cover for a bad bill, Pelosi will vote against spending bill, says Dems are being ‘blackmailed’:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she won’t vote for the “cromnibus” appropriations bill to fund the government through September.

Pelosi said Democrats are being “blackmailed” into voting for the $1.1 trillion spending measure. She and many other Democrats oppose provisions in the 1,603-page bill that would increase the maximum amount of money campaign donors can contribute to party committees and amend the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

“This a moral hazard. We’re being asked to vote for a moral hazard,” Pelosi said, referring to the Dodd-Frank provision that critics say would put taxpayers at risk of another Wall Street bailout.

Pelosi acknowledged that “there will be bipartisan support for this bill,” but said she wouldn’t be among the lawmakers voting for it.

“It will not have my support,” Pelosi said on the House floor.

Still, Pelosi made clear she isn’t whipping her members to vote against the measure, which could be important because House Republican leaders have made clear they will need Democratic votes to get it through.

“I’m not asking anybody to vote one way or another,” Pelosi said.

If you are not whipping votes, Nancy, then you are not really opposed to this bad bill passing. There was a “tell” in the earlier reporting above: “They’ve got martial law in the rule. Assuming they adopt the rule, they can change the bill, and I think we ought to do it,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip. “That’s our position, and we’re sticking to it.”

So House Democrats expect Senate Democrats to remove the objectionable provisions, and when the bill comes back to the House, the TanMan will have the tool he needs to pass a conformed bill with Democratic votes over the howling opposition from his Tea Party Caucus. “Cromnibus” Kabuki Theater!

Senator Elizabeth Warren is marshaling liberal opposition to the most objectionable provisions in the “cromnibus” bill. Left revolts over funding bill:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren urged Democrats Wednesday to withhold support for a massive government funding bill, as opposition on the political left mounted over a set of changes to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law buried in the legislation.

“I urge my Democratic colleagues in the House to withhold support for it until this risky giveaway is removed,” Warren (D-Mass.) said during remarks on the Senate floor.

Among the host of provisions included in the $1.1 trillion funding measure is one that would partially repeal a Dodd-Frank rule aimed at ensuring risky derivatives trading happens away from banks that have a government safety net.

Sen. Warren has been joined by reinforcements. Liberal senators threaten to oppose omnibus:

A growing number of Senate Democrats are siding with liberal star Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and threatening to vote against a year-end omnibus because of a controversial Wall Street provision.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) said they were undecided about how to vote on the bill.

All of them expressed concern over various policy riders, including a proposal to allow government-backed banks to trade risky derivatives, which was banned by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Merkley and Markey expressed the gravest reluctance about voting for the bill but said they had not made a final decision.

“It’s a very black mark on the omnibus if it comes over to the Senate with that in it. I certainly would consider voting no on it,” Merkley said of the Dodd-Frank provision.

The Oregon Democrat said the point of the reform is to protect the banking system from collapse and to shield taxpayers from future bailouts.

Markey said he is leaning toward voting no.

“I have to do a little bit more analysis, but right now I’m very concerned,” he said.

Durbin warned during a Thursday morning appearance on MSNBC there would be “a problem” in the Senate if the House did not remove the Dodd-Frank provision.

He said Congress might have to pass a short-term funding measure instead of the $1 trillion omnibus, which keeps most of government operating through September.

In fact, Congressional leaders are already preparing a short-term funding bill in anticipation that they do not have the votes to pass the “cromnibus” bill, to prevent a government shutdown. Funding bill struggles for votes; short-term measure an option:

The House went into recess shortly after 2 p.m. after the debate on the bill had concluded, something that could signal GOP leaders aren’t sure they have the votes necessary to pass the bill.

* * *

GOP aides initially insisted on Thursday the spending bill would go forward, but later acknowledged that they were considering a three-month continuing resolution as a fallback measure.

“Leadership teams are still talking to their respective members,” Mike Long, a spokesman for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday. “A vote is still planned for this afternoon.”

Conservative Republicans are balking at the larger package, meaning the GOP will need Democratic votes to send it to the Senate.

But liberal Democrats are outraged over language that changes the Wall Street reform law and are demanding that it be stripped from the package.

* * *

A group of about 25 House liberals huddled Thursday afternoon with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services panel. They vowed to prevent the funding package from moving forward if it is not changed, and said they would draft a letter to Democratic leaders demanding a caucus meeting before any vote.

Roll Call reports, Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote.

OMB held a conference call Thursday afternoon about a possible government shutdown out of an “abundance of caution.” White House budget office holds call to prepare for shutdown.

I wouldn’t have any confidence in the ability of the TanMan to thread the needle on this “cromnibus” bill either. He is demonstrating his lack of leadership once again. He is the “Worst. Speaker. Ever.”

“Cromnibus” Kabuki theater is going to run late into the night. Stay tuned. This play will end badly regardless.


  1. What bothers me about the reporting on this is that the banking riders are not the only poison pills in this bastard. There are some environmental messes that should not be allowed to stand. I want Democrats to consider the environment and wildlife and lands as important as financial measures. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

  2. krysten had to figure out what is best for krysten senema before she has time to figure out what is best for arizona.

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