White House To Submit FY2014 Budget on April 10

White House To Submit FY2014 Budget on April 10

At long last, the White House has announced a firm date for sending the FY2014 budget request to Congress:  April 10.

It is unusual to have a budget request released on a Wednesday — typically it is a Monday — but there is nothing usual about this budget season in Washington.  Congress was nearly six months late completing action on the FY2013 budget.   The White House is about two-and-a-half months late submitting the FY2014 request — it should have been sent to the Hill on February 4.   And the budget request will arrive after instead of before the House and Senate passed their budget resolutions, which are blueprints for FY2014-2023.

Strictly speaking Congress has until the end of FY2013 on September 30 to complete work on the FY2014 budget request.   It has been many years since it has met that deadline and considering how late the request is, the outlook is no better this year.

All things considered, however, everyone seems to be working together slightly better in the sense that legislation is being passed rather than stuck in political gridlock.

Here is where fiscal matters stand at the moment:

  • Fiscal Cliff.   The fiscal cliff that combined deep budget cuts and stiff tax increases was avoided as 2012 turned into 2013 by agreement to raise taxes, but delaying decisions on spending.
  • Debt Limit.  The issue of raising the debt limit was postponed when Congress agreed to suspend the debt limit until May 18.  That is the new date by which Congress must make a decision.  Time will tell if this becomes an edge-of-your-seat political drama.
  • FY2013 Budget and Sequester.   Congress completed action on the FY2013 budget last week, avoiding a government shutdown.  However, the agreement kept the much-feared sequester in place at least for the rest of FY2013.   Attention has been focused on the sequester’s impact in FY2013, but the deep cuts will last through 2021 under the 2011 Budget Control Act.
  • FY2014 Budget Resolutions.   The House and Senate have each passed their FY2014 budget resolutions.  The Senate has been unable to pass a budget since 2009 so merely passing the bill is an achievement.   The two chambers now are supposed to reconcile their differences and pass a single budget resolution that governs their budget decisions, but the two versions could hardly be more different.  The budget targets in the House version are lower than those under the sequester; using spending cuts alone, the budget would balance in 10 years.   The Senate version does away with the sequester and through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts would reduce, but not eliminate, the deficit in those10 years.  The budget resolutions passed each chamber by very close, almost party-line, votes.  Little hope is seen for compromise.

 

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