Two years ago, beltway insiders would speculate on the prospect of a "Merry Cliffmas" in DC, referencing the so-called "fiscal cliff" of sequestration. This holiday season brings us another made-up term of art, the "Cromnibus." Formed by mashing together "CR" (Continuing Resolution) and "Omnibus," the Cromnibus describes yet another continuing resolution that will serve as a patch until a more comprehensive omnibus spending bill comes to fruition. CRs have become a way of life in the federal legislature, as a way of funding the government in the absence of a comprehensive budget. CRs have been necessary to keep vital programs funded, as well as to avert a government shutdown like the one experienced in October 2013.
The most recent continuing resolution expired at midnight on December 11th, 2014. House leaders have planned for a stopgap to allow time for the Senate to vote on the spending bill and avoid a shutdown. The $1.01 trillion bill will keep the government funded through September 2015. It includes funding for, among other things, Ebola response, dealing with undocumented children coming across the border, and the fight against ISIL. Notably, it leaves CMS funding frozen at current year levels, neither increasing funding for ACA implementation or taking funds away to slow the law. The IRS will absorb cuts of nearly $350 million, despite that agency's increased workload caused by the health care law.
The House passed the bill narrowly late Thursday night, in a vote of 219 to 206. Text of the bill is available here.