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Surprise! White House Delays Budget Submission

The White House is said to be at least a month behind its own schedule for developing a FY2015 budget, which by statute is supposed to be submitted to Congress on the first Monday in February. That will slow work on next year’s spending bills, even though the budget accord negotiated by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) established overall discretionary spending levels.

The Ryan-Murray agreement set the discretionary top line at $1.014 trillion for FY2015, which begins October 1, 2014. Overall, the measure raises discretionary spending by almost $19 billion next year, replacing previously scheduled sequester cuts with a mix of user fees and changes in mandatory spending programs designed to save $85 billion over a decade.

There is no penalty for a late presidential budget submission, but appropriators cannot hold hearings until they have a chance to review the administration’s proposals. Last year, Obama’s budget was released two months late, in early April, a delay that factored into Congress’ failure to clear any FY2014 spending bills this past year.