PoliticoPro: By Jennifer Scholtes and Caitlin Emma
The White House confirmed to POLITICO today that it will not be releasing President Donald Trump’s budget request next week, delaying work on next year’s spending as the battle over this year’s spending drags on.
“It should come as no surprise — we won’t be transmitting the president’s budget next week,” a senior Office of Management and Budget official said this afternoon, adding that “OMB is working on a revised schedule” but not providing a new release date.
An almost 100-year-old budget law requires the president to send Congress his budget request by the first Monday in February. While presidents usually miss that deadline in their first term, it is less common further into their tenure.
Many of the federal employees who prepare the budget proposal were furloughed during the five-week government shutdown that ended Friday. What’s more, Trump administration officials and congressional spending leaders are still preoccupied with negotiating a plan to ensure nine of 15 federal departments are funded for the remainder of fiscal 2019 once the current spending stopgap, H.J. Res. 28 (116),runs out on Feb. 15.
The delay is especially problematic for congressional leaders who worked during the last year to get the spending timeline back on track by clearing the majority of federal funding by the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2019. That means top appropriators are antsy to overcome the current spending impasse and kick off the process for fiscal 2020, which begins in just eight months.
“All of this has delayed us already,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Monday night about ongoing feuding over fiscal 2019 funding. “Here it is almost February 1st. So the sooner we get out of this dilemma, the better off we’re going to be looking forward. We’re still looking backward.”