On Friday, Pentagon officials informed a House committee that the President’s formal budget proposal wouldn’t be delivered to Congress until April 8th, more than two months past the statutory deadline. Under federal law, the President is required to submit his budget blueprint to Congress no later than the first Monday in February. President Obama has met that deadline only once.
When asked at a press briefing Friday, White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest wouldn’t confirm the budget’s release. “I don’t have a budget date to announce to you,” he said. It is telling that the White House didn’t inform Congress of the delay, but left the task to budget staff at the Pentagon.
A major part of a President’s job is to manage the Executive Branch and its numerous federal agencies. The President’s budget proposal is the Administration’s estimation of the resources it will need to meet its mission and priorities for the coming year. Historically, the President submits his budget before Congress gets to work on a final spending plan.
This year, however, House and Senate Budget authors will unveil their spending plans weeks ahead of President Obama. Like many other legislative deliberations, Obama will be on the sidelines.
Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jeff Sessions blasted the delay. “He will be submitting it after the House and Senate have produced a budget proposal and adjourned for Easter. So while the President speaks of his deep concern for American workers and families, he fails to even submit to Congress his financial plan to help those workers and families.”
Since Obama took office, the government has mostly been on auto-pilot. Senate Democrats have refused for the past four years to even bring a budget plan to the floor for a vote. This inaction has caused the government to run on a series of “continuing resolutions”, which simply extend all current spending, with modest increases, for a set period of time.
As a result, there have been no real talks about prioritizing spending nor reducing or eliminating ineffective programs. It has allowed Obama and the Democrats to give lip-service to the need to cut spending, without having to provide any specific recommendations. It’s budgetary shadow-boxing.
Obama is simply uninterested in the day-to-day workload required to successfully manage the federal government. He can’t even be bothered when federal law requires that he “show his work” to the nation.