For more than 1,350 days, Senate Democrats have failed to do their lawful duty and pass a budget. This has been widely reported and, among mostly non-Democratic Party-aligned media, rightly decried as irresponsible, illegal, etc.
What is less often reported is President Obama’s failure to submit his budget proposal to Congress on time. Andrew Stiles has the story at The Corner:
By law, the president must submit an annual budget to Congress by the first Monday in February, a deadline Obama only met once during his first term in office. He has already missed that deadline more times than any president dating back to the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which established it.
Stiles links to Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) letter to the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the thesis of Stiles’ post. The letter asks when the President’s budget proposal is expected to actually be submitted, since it is clear it won’t be out by February 4, the legal deadline. Expectations on when the report will actually be out vary from February 11 to sometime in March, according to Roll Call.
It’s malpractice that one of the few legitimate duties of the federal government, passing a budget, hasn’t happened for years. This abandonment has led to budget crisis after budget crisis, though given the mainstream media’s propensity to blame Republicans and the Tea Party for these crises, it’s obvious why the American people haven’t yet put blame where it really belongs. After all, disagreement on spending priorities is why a budget is necessary – it gives both chambers time to figure out what’s important and what is not, what is politically passable and what won’t work, etc. It also gives the American people an objective measuring stick of the spending priorities of both parties, something they didn’t have last November.
To be fair, there are a couple of qualifiers to Chairman Ryan’s letter and Stiles’ criticisms. First, no President’s budget gets approved by Congress. It’s a framework of priorities more than anything else, though President Obama’s last budget was so nonsensical and based upon so many unrealistic assumptions that not a single member of Congress voted for it.
Second, it’s doubtful Chairman Ryan doesn’t already have a plan in mind for a 2013 budget proposal. If it’s anything like his 2011 and 2012 budget proposals, it won’t be nearly adequate for the challenges facing the nation. However, it will at least work towards some necessary budget reforms (though the 2012 House Republican budget failed to implement defense cuts or Social Security reform), whereas Senate Democrats are willing to do nothing in order to garner political advantage, and President Obama is willing to rely on fantastical economic growth estimates to claim his proposal is realistic.
In Washington, budgets are as much about politics as they are about actual governing and prioritization of spending. Clearly, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) are more focused on the politics side of the equation, to the detriment of the nation.