Laws surrounding the U.S. federal budget process require that the president submit a budget request to Congress by the first Monday each February. As the White House confirmed to POLITICO Monday, the Trump administration will not be meeting that deadline, though missing the date is not at all uncommon for past presidents of either party. Most recently, President Obama went three consecutive years without hitting the Monday requirement.
In any case, President Trump will likewise not be meeting that deadline this year, even as the days wind down in a three-week stopgap funding agreement that brought an end to what was the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. The end of the stopgap measure is February 15, at which point if no new budgetary agreement is in place, the government will again shut down, bringing to a halt a wide range of federal services and once again stopping the paychecks of approximately 800,000 federal workers.
“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 on Monday, indicating that the OMB is operating under a “revised schedule” at this time.
Exacerbating the time crunch is the fact that many of the federal employees responsible for putting together the president’s budget and providing the necessary context and analysis for its creation just spent five weeks out of work as a result of the December 2018 shutdown that stretched into this year. Those same workers will again be in danger of being pulled temporarily off the job should another shutdown ensue on February 15.
“All of this has delayed us already,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said late Monday. “So the sooner we get out of this dilemma, the better off we’re going to be looking forward. We’re still looking backward.”
First Monday in February is legally the deadline for sending a president’s budget to Congress https://t.co/FRUUp57xgS— Roll Call (@rollcall) February 5, 2019
As Congress and the president continue to work in hopes of keeping the government open past February 15, the major sticking point in negotiations continues to be Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to begin construction on his proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Congress will need to negotiate a spending bill that Trump has insisted include funding to begin construction of the wall or else he’ll bring the government to a close once again.
Also on the table according to the president is the declaration of a national emergency at the southern border in order to circumvent Congress altogether and fund the wall from other sources.
“Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL,” the president tweeted recently. “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!”