No...I'm not reporting that the Obama administration's fiscal 2015 budget, which by law is supposed to be sent to Congress by Monday, February 3, 2014, will be late. Neither the White House nor the Office of Management and Budget have made any such announcement and I seriously doubt they will any time soon.
Yes...I'm predicting, based on my reading of the budget tea leaves, that the Obama 2015 budget will be seriously late.
The reason is how long it's taking Congress to deal with 2014.
The only real question in my mind is how late the Obama budget will be. My guess is not only won't we see it before the end of February but that the end of March or later is a real possibility.
Although the process by which the president's budget is put together starts much earlier in the year, the vast majority of big decisions typically are made in the fall, that is, after Congress has completed work on the current year budget and appropriations and other decisions can be taken in to account and reflected in the administration's plan.
At least that's the way it's supposed to work.
This year, of course, fall is almost over and as of yet no final decisions have been made on Capital Hill about the spending or revenue levels for the year, let alone the individual appropriations.
Still ahead are:
- Next Friday's deadline for the budget conference committee to agree on something
- The possible implementation of whatever the conference committee decides (if it decides, that is)
- A January 15 deadline for either a new continuing resolution, omnibus appropriation or individual appropriations
- A possible sequester on January 18
And all of this assumes that everything will be decided on time over the next 5 weeks. Given that Congress is scheduled to be in recess for about half of this time over Christmas and New Year's Day, it's possible that a short-term CR and sequester delay will be enacted and that 2014 decisions will be delayed into February.
That could push the Obama 2015 budget into April.