Monday marked the deadline set in law for President Obama to submit a budget, but he missed it — making this the fourth time in his five years in office that he's failed to submit the blueprint on time. That makes his record equal to the three previous presidents combined, who spanned 20 years in office. This year, Mr. Obama blamed the late passage of his tax increase deal early last month. "Because these issues were not resolved until the American Taxpayer Relief Act was enacted on Jan. 2, 2013, the administration was forced to delay some of its FY 2014 budget preparations, which will in turn delay the budget's submission to Congress," acting White House budget director Jeffrey Zients wrote to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan last month. The Budget Act requires the president to submit his budget on the first Monday of February, and gives Congress until April 15 to pass its own blueprint for taxes and spending, though Capitol Hill is often worse than the White House.
This president has missed his statutory deadline 80 percent of the time, which may be an appropriate outcome from a White House that seems ever eager to congratulate itself over various "unprecedented" actions. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan effectively shakes his head in a statement released this morning:
I’m disappointed the President has missed his deadline. But I’m not surprised. In four of the last five years, he’s failed to submit his budget on time. We still don’t know when we’ll receive the president’s request. And for nearly four years, Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget at all. We deserve better. We spend $1 trillion more than we take in each year. In fact, we spend $3 for every $2 we take in. And we can’t keep that up. If we stay on this path, our finances will collapse...Every time the President and Senate Democrats shirk their duty, they delay choices we need to make. We’ve still got time, but it’s dwindling. Every missed deadline is a missed opportunity. We need to get serious about spending now. The House Budget Committee will do its job. We’ll write a budget—and submit it on time. In the past two years, we’ve offered our solutions to the country’s fiscal challenges. Now the President must do the same.
You bet House Republicans will draft, introduce and pass a budget -- and the Left will scream bloody murder as if it's some sort of genocidal hit list (when, in fact, it will merely slow the growth rate of federal spending). Who wants to bet the usual suspect will deploy her phrase, "tornado through nursing homes" at some point? The president will likely get around to rolling out his FY 2014 budget eventually, though it's unclear whether the offering will muster any more support than his previous two. A single vote in either house of Congress would do the trick. Meanwhile, leaders in the Democrat-held Senate are magnanimously hinting that they may finally fulfill their statutory responsibility to pass an annual budget for the first time in nearly four years, as Republicans are holding their feet to the fire on the issue. Senate Majority Leader once dismissed this compulsory task as "foolish," so it's fair to view Democrats' apparent reversal with a jaundiced eye. For his part, the president seems utterly unfazed by his latest abdication of responsibility. Who needs to satisfy core budgetary obligations when one has more pressing matters to attend to -- such as engaging in gun photo-ops and weighing in on the crucial issue of gay scouts? One budget element that Obama has mentioned is that he has "no doubt" that additional tax increases must be part of any "balanced" plan. Been there, done that; same unserious nonsense, different day. As for Obama's inaugural declaration that an "economic recovery has begun," Jim Geraghty wryly notes that actual events are stubbornly refusing to comply with the presidential narrative. Unemployment ticked up in January, the US economy contracted in the fourth quarter, and the Great Recession continues to pummel Americans across all generations. From Sunday's New York Times:
Young graduates are in debt, out of work and on their parents’ couches. People in their 30s and 40s can’t afford to buy homes or have children. Retirees are earning near-zero interest on their savings. In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath. These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company. Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.” New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives.
Do Democrats have a plan to lift this enduring malaise, aside from -- ahem -- raising taxes and adding to the towering national debt? President Obama's blueprint is late, and Senate Democrats' proposal is four years overdue.
UPDATE - Stop worrying about deadlines, you whiners.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that he had no updates on when President Barack Obama will release his budget for the next fiscal year. "I don't have an update on the President's budget," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president travels to Minneapolis to discuss his gun control proposals when asked when Obama will submit his spending plan to Congress...Carney encouraged reporters to "focus on substance over deadlines," saying Obama has proposed detailed plans for bringing down the nation's deficits, and that unlike Republicans, what he "hasn't done is submit a highly partisan budget that has no support among the American public."
The Obama administration is casting stones at Republicans for passing budgets on time, arguing that GOP plans are "partisan" and have "no support." That's rich. 513-0.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography