Today, Vice President Joe Biden’s will release the policy recommendations of his White House-mandated task force on guns–on time. Yesterday, the White House informed House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that it would not meet its legal deadline for presenting a budget–for the fourth time.
In a sign of President Obama’s priorities, the gun control recommendations were expedited, while budget decisions continue to be left to the last minute, tripping from one politically manufactured crisis to the next.
The Vice President’s task force was only convened on month ago, in the wake of the Sandy Hook atrocity in Newtown, Connecticut. It was able to reports its conclusions to the President yesterday despite working through the winter holidays (possibly with the help of the “progressive community’s wish list” on gun control, ready-made by the left-wing Center for American Progress).
But President Obama has not been able to prepare a budget–despite having an entire Office of Management and Budget devoted to the task, and despite knowing the annual deadline.
The risk posed by President Obama’s failure to produce a budget is that the nation is hurtling towards a debt ceiling deadline in the next several weeks, beyond which the U.S. Treasury will not be able to issue further debt to pay for government spending. Thus far, the White House has not produced any proposals on spending cuts, relying on tough rhetoric and tax hikes on the rich, which cannot possibly cover the shortfalls.
By contrast, the speed and alacrity with which the Vice President’s task force has met its deadline is exemplary, even if its policy recommendations–which could include regulating private transfers of firearms and as many as nineteen executive orders President Obama might issue on gun control–may not be. The task force met its deadline despite the fact that Vice President Biden was busy negotiating the terms of a “fiscal cliff” deal with the Senate after the White House and Senate Democrats failed to do so.
The eagerness with which the administration as a whole has set about limiting the scope of a fundamental constitutional right also contrasts with its extreme reluctance to meet its basic constitutional obligations.