Obama 2014 budget
I decided not to comment immediately on the Obama 2014 released last week because I thought the usual instant micro analysis of what the president proposed was likely to be largely besides the point..
The Obama 2014 budget has far less to do with what was proposed than almost any other presidential budget in history. It's real purpose...and value...comes from understanding it as a document designed to drive a wedge between House and Senate Republicans.
To a certain extent it's hard to understand why more of the people who comment on the federal budget -- that is, almost all of Washington -- didn't get the fact that the individual proposals in the Obama plan weren't the big story. Regardless of the reasons for it being so late (some were legitimate, some were not), a president's budget that's sent to Congress more than two months after the statutory deadline and after the House and Senate have already adopted their own budget resolutions should never be analyzed in the same way as other presidential budgets have been. It simply won't -- or can't -- have the same micro impact on the budget debate even if it was going to declared dead on arrival anyway.
The Obama fiscal 2014 budget will be released today.
Because of the White House-generated leaks about the Obama budget, it has already been denounced by Republicans for proposing revenue increases and by Democrats for proposing a change in the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security.
Because the House and Senate have already adopted their own budget resolutions, the administration's budget may not even be voted on.
It's not impossible; in fact, there are GOP plans in the works in the Senate to make voting on the president's budget part of any effort to raise the debt ceiling when it's reached later this year. And Democrats might want a symbolic vote on the Obama budget just so they can oppose the president's Social Security proposal.
This week's most frequently repeated description of the Obama fiscal 2014 budget, which is scheduled to be released this Wednesday, April 10, will be something close to "...which was sent to Congress more than two months after the statutory February 4 deadline..."
Yes, the budget is very late. Yes, this may be the latest any president has ever sent his budget to Congress since the Congressional Budget Act became law in 1974. And, yes, in spite of the fiscal cliff at the beginning of January and the sequester on March 1, both of which got in the way of the typical presidential budget formulation process, this extreme delay is more than just a little hard to fathom.
Having said that, the only real difference the delay to April will make in this year's debate is that it deprived House and Senate Republicans from declaring the president's budget dead on arrival in February.
Get ready for one of the most unusual federal budget spectacles of all time.
First, the Obama fiscal 2014 budget, which this year was supposed to be submitted by February 4th, is now expected to be released on April 8, that is, more than two months late and after the House and Senate adopted their own versions of a 2014 budget resolution. As far as I can tell this is the latest any president has submitted his budget (other than the first one after being elected) since the Congressional Budget Act was signed into law in 1974.
The administration deserves some slack here because of the fiscal cliff and sequestration. At the same time that every White House typically is putting the finishing touches on its budget for the coming year in December, this administration had to deal with the negotiations over the fiscal cliff and the possibility of the across-the-board cuts. This meant that the baseline and economic forecast that normally would have been locked and in place a month earlier was still a moving target at the start of February.
Some quick budget topics that deserve a mention but not a whole post:
1. About the delayed Obama fiscal 2014 budget
I've already posted once about this. On the one hand, the fact that the president's budget isn't going to be sent to Congress until early April (the current rumored date is April 8) is very distressing. On the other hand, the crocodile tears and phony outrage that will come from GOP members of Congress when the budget finally is released will be laughable.
Think about this: The Obama budget would have been declared dead on arrival by the GOP if it had been submitted by the February 4 statutory deadline and it would immediately have been ignored. Now those same House and Senate Republicans will wail about not having the chance to review what the president proposed before they put together their own budgets.
2. About the fiscal 2014 budget resolution