Obama Budget taking charge from behind

Apr 6, 2013 by

Details of President Barack Obama’s budget surfaced Friday and much of Washington is wondering: Why now?

The normal release date for presidential budgets came and went in early February, leaving Republicans and some red-state Democrats to complain Obama missed his moment.

But as much as Obama’s budget looks like an afterthought, it also represents the latest example of the stalemate Washington keeps hitting on long-term fiscal matters, with the two parties no closer to a “grand bargain” on long-term spending or deficits than they were a year or more ago.


Just look at the president’s budget rollout: he based the document on the same offer he made House Speaker John Boehner months ago – a mix of entitlement cuts and tax increases. Boehner rejected the idea then and swiftly did the same Friday – before the full document was even released.



That doesn’t bode well for either party as they prepare to take on more big fights in the coming weeks– like the fate of billions in sequestration cuts and the debt-ceiling expiration looming in Mid-May.


Still, some members of Congress think better timing on Obama’s part could have helped.


“It’s about time. If I was mayor and I delivered my budget that late, I’m not sure I’d be mayor,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, a former mayor of Anchorage.


“It does give new meaning to leading from behind,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).


“It misses the whole point that if you come after the game is over, how do you play?” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told POLITICO. “He’s missed the whole debate on the fiscal direction of the country.”


The White House did not respond to a request for comment.


Despite the late date, the White House is expected to follow the script used for the previous four years. Cabinet officials will hold press conferences and meet with key constituent groups to detail what programs the administration believes merit increases and which should be slashed. Senior administration officials are planning to testify laterthis spring and summer before congressional authorizing committees on theirannual budget requests.


And sensing political points can be scored, House Republicans are expected to try embarrassing the president and Democrats byforcing an up-or-down roll call on the administration’s budget plan.


“I suspect somebody will try to make sure that at least the House has an opportunity to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom Cole(R-Okla.). “That’s very important because that tells us if the Democratic conference is lined up with the president’s priorities.”



As for the appropriators, who are also dealing with $1.2 trillion in sequestration cuts over the next decade, their entire process has been on virtual autopilot for several years because of the budget impasse. Disputes over the top-line figure have forced passage of a series of stopgap spending bills rather than a negotiated set of individual measures that allow members to target specific programs and policies they favor.


The latest example of budget gridlock came right before the spring recess, when Congress had to pass yet another continuing resolu

via Obama budget: Why now? – David Nather and Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.