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There will be no government shutdown after all. But getting to this point wasn’t pretty.

The House passed a $1.01 trillion spending package on Thursday just hours before a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown. The measure now goes to the Senate and President Obama is expected to sign it.


In honor of the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, who does this sort of thing after every Washington football game, here are the best and worst moments of the spending debate.

Worst name for a bill: "Cromnibus." What a hideous word. It's what happens when two terms from the Beltway insider dictionary ("continuing resolution") and ("omnibus") decide to have a baby. One of my good friends just had a baby and she is cute. This baby is not.

The spending bill received the nickname because it combines a massive omnibus spending package to fund most of the federal government through September with a shorter-term continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security, an attempt by House Republicans to set up a funding battle over President Obama's immigration action early next year.


The name may have served a somewhat legitimate purpose, but it spurned some terrible puns. Like croptimistic, MittCromni, and incromnible (guilty).

Worst dysfunction: For weeks, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed confidence that Congress would avoid the chaotic funding battles and pass a bipartisan plan to avoid a government shutdown.

A day of drama in the House of Representatives almost deprived Boehner of his wish. A cadre of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans angry with provisions in the bill almost derailed the entire package. The House passed its plan less than three hours before a shutdown would kick in, forcing both chambers to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for two more days so the Senate had time to pass the plan. Technically, there was a shutdown that lasted a few minutes before President Obama signed the patch funding into law.


Best quote from a reindeer farmer: The House almost wasn't even able to formally debate the spending bill. A procedural motion nearly failed on Thursday afternoon, when every Democrat voting opposed the measure. Republican leaders had to twist arms to get enough votes to approve the motion. Outgoing Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), a reindeer farmer, switched his vote from no to yes at the last minute and the motion passed 214-212.

"I saved Christmas!" Bentivolio told reporters. Slow your roll, congressman.

The vote was a warning sign that the spending package was in danger of failing. The House then went into recess while leaders figured out what to do.


Best sign of confidence: After House Republicans and the White House spent all afternoon and evening wrangling for votes, Boehner decided to bring the bill to the floor. It still wasn't clear there were enough votes to pass it but the Speaker called himself a "happy warrior" as he walked into the House chamber.

Turns out he had reason to smile.

Worst infighting, conservative edition: The spending bill was full of specific policy provisions called "riders." To the chagrin of conservative Republicans, it did not include language that would prevent funds from going toward President Obama's deportation relief program.


Immigration hawks, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), called on Republicans to vote against the bill, saying it did not punish Obama for unilaterally allowing undocumented immigrants to seek a temporary reprieve from deportation.

Sixty-seven Republicans voted against the bill, but it passed with the help of Democrats. The immigration fight is far from over though. GOP leaders are pledging a funding battle when the Department of Homeland Security runs out of money in February.

Worst infighting, liberal edition: Contrary to most predictions, conservatives weren't the biggest obstacle to getting the spending bill passed. Liberal Democrats were.


Liberals were steamed about two policy "riders" inserted into the 1,600-plus page measure. One rolled back derivatives-trading rules put in place in a 2010 overhaul of banking regulations. The other tripled the amount donors are allowed to give to political parties.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a liberal firebrand, played a key role in fomenting anger among Democrats about these policy provisions. That set up a fierce public battle between President Obama and members of his own party.

The White House said it was against the riders, but it came out in support of the overall bill. Obama and Vice President Biden phoned lawmakers to ask for their support and chief of staff Denis McDonough traveled to Capitol Hill to try and sway Democrats.


But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sharply rebuked the White House in a floor speech and called the bill "blackmail."

Worst optics: Because the derivatives language was so important to the banking industry, J.P. Morgan chief executive officer Jamie Dimon personally called lawmakers to ask them to vote for the spending bill, according to the Washington Post.


Best bailout: No, it's not the one that could come to big banks as a result of the rule change. Despite the anger among Democrats, 57 of them voted for the "Cromnibus," which was critical to its passage.

That caused some Capitol Hill reporters to speculate that Pelosi actually wanted the bill to pass, but wanted to limit the number of Democrats who voted for it.


Worst sacrificial lamb: Republicans and Democrats who negotiated the spending bill had no qualms about throwing Washington, D.C., under the bus.

Because D.C. is not a state, Congress has a say over its budget and laws. And the spending bill contained a rider intended to block the city from implementing its plan to legalize marijuana, which almost 70 percent of District voters supported.


Some D.C. officials were confident they could circumvent Congress' restriction and go ahead with the plan. But there was still considerable frustration that Congress once again decided to meddle in the District's affairs.

Best congressional staff: It was a long day for Capitol Hill reporters covering the "Cromnibus" drama. So, the staffs of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) delivered fruitcake, chips, and guacamole to the hungry scribes.



Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.