The Obama Administration Will Likely Delay Giving Its Annual Budget to Congress

By: Gina Luke, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division

Due to Congress and the Obama administration’s inability to fully resolve issues surrounding the recent “fiscal cliff,” President Obama will likely delay for a few weeks delivering his annual budget request to Congress, missing the Feb. 4 deadline.

By law, the president’s annual budget is due to Capitol Hill by the first Monday in February, but some recent news reports have said that the White House is running about five weeks behind schedule.  Federal agencies are still waiting for the administration’s decisions—known as “passbacks”—on their individual budget requests, which is something that usually occurs in late November.

Any delay that occurs in delivering the president’s budget to Congress will compress the legislative calendar, which translates into less time for lawmakers to complete all of the bills that are part of their regular agenda. Further complicating matters, Congress has not agreed on the final spending levels for its current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2012, and is operating on a continuing resolution that will expire on March 27.

Bothered by the president’s delay, last week House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jeffrey Zients asking “whether the President will submit his budget request this year on or before February 4 as required by law?”

“If the administration does not plan to meet the statutory deadline, when do you anticipate the request being made,” Rep. Ryan said. A “delay in the budget submission of the president’s budget request affects Congress’s ability to carry out its budget duties.”

Zients responded to Rep. Ryan in a letter stating that the administration is “working diligently on our budget request” and “will submit it to Congress as soon as possible.”

AVMA anticipates that the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request may not be released until late February or into March, but neither the White House nor OMB have confirmed.

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