Obama Breaks Budget Law And The Media Keeps Silent
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.) late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law, a House aide said.
“Late Friday evening, Deputy Director Zients confirmed that for the fourth time in five years, the president’s budget will not be submitted in compliance with the law,” the aide said.
“Zients did not indicate how late the administration will delay its submission, simply noting ‘We will submit it to Congress as soon as possible,’ ” the aide said.
Ryan last Wednesday had asked the White House in a letter if it would miss the deadline.
Under the law, Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.
Congress and the White House struck a budget deal on New Year’s Eve that avoided tax hikes on middle-class families and delayed a 2013 budget sequester until March.
That last-minute “fiscal cliff” deal has thrown a wrench into the annual budget process, sources say, because it did not finalize 2013 appropriations or replace nearly $1 trillion in automatic discretionary cuts imposed by the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal.
“They have no baseline,” one expert said. The expert said it may also be the case that the administration does not want the budget to be taken as an opening offer in the coming fight over raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Republicans are demanding Obama propose sharp spending cuts to offset any increase in the ceiling.
Obama in a press conference Monday though reiterated his stance, pressing lawmakers to raise the debt limit without tying it to cuts or entitlement reform.
Failure to raise the ceiling will cause a default on payments ranging from Social Security benefits to tax refunds to bond interest, depending on how long it takes Washington to raise the limit and what bills Treasury decides to pay.
The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates default could come as early as Feb. 15.
Ryan’s office says that Obama has missed the budget deadline by more than any president since the 1920s. Obama’s first budget was delayed until May, while his second budget was delivered on time. The last two budgets were late but came in February.