Introducing the CRomnibus: Capitol Hill's Less-Delicious Version of the Cronut

Will members of Congress swallow the mashup intended to avoid a govt. shutdown?

ByABC News
December 8, 2014, 10:54 AM

— -- By combining the appetizing allure of a tasty croissant with the sweet decadence of a doughnut, New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel unveiled the cronut in 2013, setting off a flurry of copycat knockoffs.

But the crown jewel of hybrid phrases on Capitol Hill right now is the “CRomnibus,” a legislative concoction lawmakers hope will win enough support to stave off another government shutdown this week.

You might think the CRomnibus mashup was inspired by the cronut, but the politicians actually may have come up with the concept on their own. Then-House Minority Leader John Boehner’s press office may have first coined the buzzword CRomnibus in January 2007, croaking over a Democratic spending proposal of the time “for cramming roughly half the entire federal discretionary budget and assorted policy changes into one [legislative] vehicle.”

Now, those crocodile tears have turned to croons as Republicans consider a CRomnibus as their most favorable option to keep the government open for business.

So what exactly is a CRomnibus?

A continuing resolution, or CR for short, is a temporary spending bill that extends the current rate of spending, while an omnibus is a package of appropriations bills dictating new terms to fund any number of federal agencies.

House Republicans are considering acting on a crossover of the two – crowding 11 subcommittee appropriations bills to fund most federal agencies through the end of FY 2015 together with a short-term spending bill for Department of Homeland Security.

By incorporating the attributes of each, lawmakers have crafted a crooked mechanism they hope will provide enough cover for a feisty cadre of conservatives who are crowing over the president’s executive actions on immigration reform.

Since a CRomnibus would only fund the Department Homeland Security for a couple months, conservatives would be able to revisit the spending debate next year after the GOP takes majority control of the Senate.

The House voted Thursday to narrowly approve legislation to effectively undo Obama’s executive action on immigration and allow Republicans to voice their outrage without sparking a government shutdown. That measure, however, is likely to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, causing some conservatives to question the point of going forward with leadership’s plan.

Boehner now stands at congressional crossroad that could test his ability to crochet together support from every wing of his conference, or risk relying on Democratic votes to help pass the measure through the House.

Some influential conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are resisting the GOP leadership’s plan to crouch down until reinforcements arrive for the 114th Congress, complaining that some candidates aren’t fulfilling their campaign pledges to oppose executive amnesty.

“Do what you promised,” Cruz urged during a rally outside the Capitol last week. “Doing what you promised doesn’t mean as it so often does in Washington sending a really stern letter and having a meaningless show vote.”

Congress must send a bill to the president by Dec. 11 or the government will once again shut down.