White House on Obama’s late budget: ‘Substance over deadlines’

February 4, 2013
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Obama. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The White House on Monday responded to criticism that it has again missed the deadline to submit the president’s budget to Congress by arguing that what’s in the budget matters more than when it arrives.

Asked aboard Air Force One about the missed deadline, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney contended that reporters should focus on “substance over deadlines” and took aim at House Republicans for passing what he termed “highly partisan” budgets that lack public support.

“(Obama) has put forward consistently budgets that achieve what the American people
overwhelmingly support,” Carney said. He did not say whether Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget would come before or after next week’s State of the Union address.

The White House has only met its early February budget deadline once, in 2010.

In a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last month, White House Acting Budget Director Jeffrey Zients attributed the latest delay in part to last year’s 11th-hour negotiations between Congress and the White House to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Congressional Republicans -- who have also sharply criticized Senate Democrats for their failure to produce a budget blueprint -- on Monday noted that 2013 marks the fourth time in five years that Obama has missed his budget deadline.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

"President Obama missed a great opportunity today to help our economy," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on the House floor, according to The Hill. "This was supposed to be the day that the president submitted his budget to the Congress. But it's not coming, it's going to be late, and some reports are saying it could be as long as a month late.”
Carney, asked about Boehner’s criticism, contended that Obama “has a proposal that the speaker of the House is welcome to take up today or tomorrow as he might wish which represents balanced deficit reduction."

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Karen Tumulty | February 4, 2013