White House to Split Fiscal 2015 Budget Into Two Releases

U.S. President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal is a month late and the administration has now informed lawmakers it will divide the spending plan into installments, a Senate Budget Committee spokesman said.

“We have been told by the Office of Management and Budget that the budget will be coming in two parts,” said Andrew Logan, a spokesman for Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the budget panel’s top Republican.

The first phase will be released March 4, as previously announced by the OMB. It will contain a budget summary by department and agency, along with some spending detail, Logan said. Without the other volumes typically included, “we’re not going to be able to check the numbers to determine that everything adds up,” he said.

OMB spokesman Steven Posner disputed the contention that Congress would only be getting summary numbers.

“All relevant information for the Congress and the public to understand the president’s budget will be released on March 4,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

The March 4 release will include proposals, summary tables, agency-level information and an appendix, a line-by-line book of numbers that typically runs more than 1,300 pages, Posner said.

Volumes with historical tables and supplemental budget analyses will be released the following week, he said.

‘Wish List’

The budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 represents a “wish list” for the administration. It will help set the tone for debate over taxes and spending as lawmakers are getting ready for mid-term elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

Sylvia Burwell, director of OMB, is sending the budget to Congress about a month after the legal deadline because lawmakers were late in resolving a final spending plan for 2014. That $1.1 trillion spending package was signed into law on Jan. 17, delaying preparations for fiscal 2015.

Posner said the budget office is producing the budget document in seven weeks rather than the four months that would be available had appropriations been settled on schedule.

Last year, the administration submitted its $3.77 trillion budget on April 10.

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