White House to miss budget deadline

Barack Obama

Buried in yesterday’s news of President Obama’s press conference, where he brow beat Republicans over the debt ceiling and called for even more tax revenue, was word that the White House would break the law by not submitting a budget for FY 2014 to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) by the required date:

The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan (R-Wis.) in a letter late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law.

In the letter, Zients says the administration is “working diligently on our budget request.”

The letter blames the late passage of the “fiscal cliff” deal for the delay, saying that because tax and spending issues were not resolved until Jan. 2, “the administration was forced to delay some of its FY 2014 budget preparations, which in turn will delay the budget’s submission to Congress.”

“We will submit it to Congress as soon as possible,” Zients writes.

The Hill notes that, since taking office, the White House has met the deadline only one time. The last time Congress passed a budget was April 29, 2009, which was also the first year of Obama’s administration. And while the White House likes to blame Republicans for the impasse, Obama couldn’t even get a budget through in 2010 when Democrats had complete control of Congress.

Since Washington can only pay 60% of its bills without borrowing, Republicans have emphasized the need to cut spending to rein in the federal budget deficit. They’ve proposed budget that, while not perfect, do manage to dam the river of red ink that has been flowing out of Washington. Of course, Republicans have their own out-of-touch spending priorities, such as their refusal to trim back the bloated defense budget. But at the very least, the budget passed by the House are a good starting point.

Even when the White House sends a budget to Rep. Ryan, Republicans will again reiterate their push for spending cuts. The White House will ignore or deflect them and we’re right back where we started. For what it’s worth, this gridlock has somewhat restrained growth in the federal budget. That’s still not the desired result, but it’s better than the dramatic increases in spending we saw when Obama first came into office.

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