The White House said Monday that it's delaying for one week the release of President Barack Obama's budget for the 2013 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
The budget is traditionally released on the first Monday in February _ which is Feb. 6 _ but the administration has pushed the release to Feb. 13. An administration official said the later date was "determined based on the need to finalize decisions and technical details of the document."
After last year's failed attempts at budget deals, election-year expectations are low that Obama and Congress will be able to make progress this year on deficits that required the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spent last year.
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters that he's hopeful Congress and Obama will at least be able to agree upon enough budget savings to forestall across-the-board budget cuts. The cuts are required in the wake of last year's failure by a so-called deficit supercommittee to come up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts mandated by the debt limit agreement.
Obama is sure to preview new policy proposals in Tuesday's State of the Union address, and the subsequent budget release typically fleshes in the details.
Capitol Hill Republicans were quick to criticize the White House delay, saying it shows the White House isn't serious about tackling the deficit.
"If I were advising President Obama, I'd recommend less time campaigning and more time spent addressing the impending fiscal crisis," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. "We need a budget with a responsible spending restraint and pro-growth reforms and we need it now."
Jacob Lew, budget director since late 2010, is making the transition to White House chief of staff.