Despite opposition from right and left, Cromnibus heads to the floor

Today in AT, Jim Simpson has the conservative takedown of the $1.1 Cromnubus budget bill, which will fund most of the government through the end of the fiscal year in September.

But Senator Elizabeth Warren is also objecting to the budget deal because of a change in the trading of derivatives that she sees and much of the hard left sees as a betrayal of the financial regulation bill, Dodd-Frank.

The Hill:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday sought to rally opposition to the $1.1 trillion government funding bill, spearheading a revolt on the left that has put her influence in the Democratic Party to the test.

The Massachusetts liberal pleaded for House Democrats to withhold support for a government funding package due to a provision she said would change the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to let “Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money.”


Her call gave voice to opposition among liberals to provisions tucked in the “cromnibus” deal that they argue would let big banks engage in the same risky trading that toppled the economy in 2008.

With House Republican leaders acknowledging they’ll need Democratic support to get the legislation through, unified opposition from liberals could prove fatal. A vote on the House floor is set for Thursday.

Warren dodged when asked how far she’d go to stop the bill if it reached the Senate with the Dodd-Frank provisions intact, stressing that the House must act first.

“We’re trying to get it out of the House omnibus bill right now,” she said. “That is where all the pressure is.”

Opposition to the funding deal began to surface early Wednesday morning as lawmakers began sorting through the surprise provisions tucked in the more than 1,600-page funding package.

While several controversial policy riders were quickly discovered, it was the change to Dodd-Frank that generated the loudest outcry.

The provision would no longer require that big banks separate trades in financial derivatives from traditional bank accounts, which are backed by the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The derivatives played a key role in the financial collapse.

Critics argue the change would leave taxpayers on the hook if trades explode. Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called it a “stealth attack” on his namesake achievement.

Still, it’s unclear whether the opposition from Warren, Frank and others will persuade House Democrats to risk a government shutdown by voting against the bill.

Even vocal critics in the Senate of the provision, such as Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), stopped short of promising to oppose it.

Actually, the change is far more limited than Warren lets on. What caused the banking meltdown was the trading of mortgage backed securities - including derivatives. The change would only affect derivitive trades involving farmers and other commodity producers.

But Warren's barking has liberal dogs in the House following her lead. It's believed Boehner needs at least 50 House Democrats to pass Cromnibus, and he may have achieved that goal.

A $1.1 trillion spending bill looks like it will have the votes to pass the House on Thursday despite griping by members of both parties.

Democrats and Republicans alike have raised doubts about whether Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and other GOP leaders can cobble together the votes necessary to win approval for their package, which would keep the government open beyond Thursday, when funding expires.

But there were a number of signs Wednesday that suggested the House GOP package would ultimately prove successful.

While President Obama hasn’t publicly endorsed the legislation — something that would likely cause more Republicans to vote against it — the White House on Wednesday touted a number of the bill’s provisions.

The White House hailed “substantial resources” included for the fight against Islamic terrorists and “significant” spending on the Ebola epidemic as victories.

“We are certainly pleased by that,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Just as important, the White House dismissed blows to first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy school lunch program as unimportant and argued deeper cuts had been avoided.

GOP leaders are confident they’ll have the votes to pass the package, with House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) predicting that “a majority on both sides” will usher the package through the lower chamber. 

Still, even GOP leaders expect between 50 and 60 Republicans to vote against the bill, largely because of Obama’s executive actions deferring deportations and providing work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

And Republicans are feeling pressure from the right.

The conservative Drudge Report website ripped Republicans over the measure, arguing it represented “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and that it also fully funded ObamaCare. “Republican Betrayal” was its top headline.

There are fewer conservatives in the Senate who would vote to block the bill, and it's unclear whether Warren would blow it up and shut down the government by calling on her cohorts to oppose it. Unless she can find a way to blame Republicans for such a shut down,. she is likely to to keep her mouth shut as the buget passes in the Senate.