For congressional Republicans, it’s put up or shut up time.
After capturing control of the Senate and expanding their House majority in November’s midterm elections, GOP leaders viewed a massive government-wide spending bill as a way to set their committee chairs up to craft their own appropriations measures next year.
“Clear the deck” became a rally call among Capitol Hill Republicans, eager to revive the practice of passing annual appropriations bills throughout the year. How GOP leaders did it wasn’t pretty late last week — and there are angry members in both parties — but the “cromnibus” spending bill they shoved through the House as part of a larger package was, in part, aimed at doing just that.
The cromnibus is so named because it features an 11-department omnibus appropriations bill and one continuing resolution.
And come January, when Republicans run Congress, members say the pressure is on.
Senate Appropriations Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the inclusion of a number of policy provisions in appropriations bill, like one to ease the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, means his party will be under the gun.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on the Republican Party to pass the appropriations bills in the normal course of business,” Graham told Defense News on Dec. 12. “And I think there’s pressure on the Democratic Party to rehabilitate itself. So I think this combined pressure could create a better Congress.”
Another Sen. Appropriations Committee member, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the incoming ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also senses an uptick in the political onus on the GOP to move spending bills as they have promised.
“I think there will be a great pressure on them to move the bills through regular order,” Reed said in a brief interview.