The turmoil over this year's spending levels means that the Obama administration likely will delay submission of its fiscal 2014 budget request well past the early February due date, experts said Friday. (AFP)
The turmoil over this year’s spending levels means that the Obama administration likely will delay submission of its fiscal 2014 budget request well past the early February due date, experts said Friday.
“I fully expect it to be late,” said Thad Juszczak, a former federal budget officer who predicted that the delay will probably run into March. Another former federal official, who asked not to be named because he was citing sources within the government, confirmed that agencies are also expecting a March submission date.
In an email, an administration official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said no decisions have been made on timing. The official added, however, that the Office of Management and Budget had held off on issuing the “passbacks” that usually go to agencies in late November to let them know what’ll be allotted per agency in the upcoming budget request.
The administration’s budget request is legally due on Capitol Hill the first Monday in February, which next year falls on Feb. 4. But delays are not unusual: This past February, the White House postponed release of its fiscal 2013 request by a week, citing the need for more time to make final decisions and work out technical details.
But while fiscal 2013 began almost three months ago, lawmakers have not given final approval to any of the dozen appropriations bills that set agency budgets. Instead, the government is operating under a six-month continuing resolution that runs through most of March.
The White House and congressional Republicans are meanwhile battling over the terms of a deal needed to avert a combination of tax increases and across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect at the beginning of January.
It’s tough to set 2014 spending benchmarks without knowing what the budget levels for 2013 will be, said Stan Collender, a former congressional budget staffer.
In a brief appearance before reporters late Friday afternoon, Obama called on lawmakers to come up with a compromise package that would keep income tax rates from going up Jan. 1 on most Americans, as well as extend unemployment benefits.
“We’re going to have to find some common ground,” Obama said. He said nothing, however, about possible steps to head off the budget cuts that would begin Jan. 2 and did not take questions.