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Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Examiner Editorial: It's time to fix the broken budget process

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Opinion,Editorial,Barack Obama,Budgets and Deficits,Washington Examiner,Magazine

This is the day when Americans are supposed to find out how much the Obama administration wants to spend on the federal government in fiscal year 2015. Once again, they'll be disappointed.

A 1921 law obliges the president to submit a budget request for the upcoming fiscal year by the first Monday in February. President Obama apparently doesn't feel obliged to obey that law -- he's the only president since it passed to miss the deadline three years in a row. In fact, he's only met the deadline once in his presidency, in 2010.

The White House plans to unveil the fiscal 2015 budget a month late, on March 4. That's an improvement over the previous year, when the administration's budget didn't come out until April 10.

Obama administration officials have blamed partisan disputes over spending in Congress for the delays in presenting a budget request, noting that fiscal 2014 spending was not settled until this month under a deal that was intended to bring order to the chaotic budget process.

It's true that Congress has its own problems meeting budget deadlines, and has failed in many cases to even pass the spending bills required by the Budget Act of 1974. But the fault for those problems lies primarily with the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid has acted in collusion with the White House to shield his Democratic colleagues from having to cast recorded votes on the tough choices involved in drawing up a budget.

Even if Senate Democrats were inclined to show some political courage, delays by the White House would add to the problem of getting federal spending passed on time.

The budget system has been broken since Obama took office, and he's a big reason why.

The president likes to complain -- loudly and often -- about how the immigration system is "broken" and urgently needs to be fixed. But when it comes to something that affects everything the federal government does -- and, by extension, every American -- he stands idle as the budget gets mired in partisan politics.

If the president really is in the mood to fix things, it would behoove him to start with the engine of the government -- the budget.

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