President Barack Obama will send his fiscal 2014 budget to Congress the week of April 8, an administration official said today, more than two months late.
The president’s spending blueprint was due on Feb. 4. The administration said last month that the debate over taxes and spending at the end of last year, combined with across-the-board spending cuts that kicked in March 1, would delay its release.
The budget, which is an outline of Obama’s priorities, would be for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The official asked for anonymity because an announcement hasn’t been made and declined to be more specific
The delay may not change the political debate over fiscal issues since Obama and congressional Republicans remain deadlocked over spending and taxes and how to cut the deficit.
The president drew criticism from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, for failing to get the budget to Congress sooner.
“I hope that’s not a reflection of a lack of seriousness,” McConnell said. “But it is beyond tardy.”
The president has stepped up engagement with Congress to press his priorities and try to reach a budget deal. He met at the Capitol today with Senate Democrats behind closed doors. He left without making any statement. He’ll return there tomorrow and Thursday to meet with the House Republican conference, Senate Republican conference and the House Democratic Caucus.
The president has said he’s planning to again seek many of the same proposals for spending and for deficit reduction that were contained in last year’s $3.8 trillion budget, which was never adopted by Congress.
“What the president’s budget proposal will do, as his previous proposals have done, is achieve the economically important goal of bringing our debt-to-GDP down below 3 percent,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said today.
The Congressional Budget Office last month projected the deficit for the current fiscal year would be $845 billion, or 5.3 percent of the gross domestic product.
Obama’s budget may also get little attention in Congress because lawmakers in the House and Senate are now compiling their own budget proposals, even before Obama submits his.
U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, unveiled his proposal for taxes and spending today that he said would end the deficit within a decade by cutting $4.6 trillion out of Medicaid, food stamps, Pell college tuition grants and other programs.
Ryan’s plan is similar to previous proposals and will probably be rejected in the Senate, where the majority Democrats have long complained that his proposals take too much from the poor while asking too little of the wealthy.
Carney said the Republican math “doesn’t add up” and would put a greater burden on middle-income Americans.
Under the annual process in Congress, lawmakers pass their budget plan, though it’s non-binding and isn’t signed by the president. It sets broad policy goals for implementation by committees in 12 annual spending bills. Those measures are submitted to the president for his signature.