Get ready for one of the most unusual federal budget spectacles of all time.
First, the Obama fiscal 2014 budget, which this year was supposed to be submitted by February 4th, is now expected to be released on April 8, that is, more than two months late and after the House and Senate adopted their own versions of a 2014 budget resolution. As far as I can tell this is the latest any president has submitted his budget (other than the first one after being elected) since the Congressional Budget Act was signed into law in 1974.
The administration deserves some slack here because of the fiscal cliff and sequestration. At the same time that every White House typically is putting the finishing touches on its budget for the coming year in December, this administration had to deal with the negotiations over the fiscal cliff and the possibility of the across-the-board cuts. This meant that the baseline and economic forecast that normally would have been locked and in place a month earlier was still a moving target at the start of February.
I've come back from two weeks on the mountaintop (and a few beaches) with an additional healthy dose of skepticism -- and that's saying a great deal given how skeptical I was before -- about what Washington says and does on everything having to do with the federal budget.
From my vantage point 5000+ miles away from the beltway, it was simply impossible not to think that what was happening in DC -- the House and Senate passing fiscal 2014 budget resolutions -- as being even slightly important.
I know that wasn't what was being said in Washington. The GOP was taking credit for its No Budget No Pay provisions pushing the Senate to pass a budget resolution for the first time in four years. Senate Democrats were crowing about passing that budget resolution. The House GOP was bragging about it adopting the latest plan drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) even though it has no chance of becoming law. And Dems were expressing a great deal of pride about the job first-year Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) did in getting the resolution out of committee and adopted in the floor.
What's the digital equivalent of "gone fishin"?
Whatever it is, that's what I and CG&G will be doing the next two weeks.
See you March 25...renewed, refreshed, raring to go...and, with a little luck, decaffeinated and a few pounds lighter.
Some quick budget topics that deserve a mention but not a whole post:
1. About the delayed Obama fiscal 2014 budget
I've already posted once about this. On the one hand, the fact that the president's budget isn't going to be sent to Congress until early April (the current rumored date is April 8) is very distressing. On the other hand, the crocodile tears and phony outrage that will come from GOP members of Congress when the budget finally is released will be laughable.
Think about this: The Obama budget would have been declared dead on arrival by the GOP if it had been submitted by the February 4 statutory deadline and it would immediately have been ignored. Now those same House and Senate Republicans will wail about not having the chance to review what the president proposed before they put together their own budgets.
2. About the fiscal 2014 budget resolution