Lawmakers vote to withhold most of OMB’s funding until it submits fiscal 2016 plan.
Each year, the president is required to deliver a budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
For the last several years running, however, President Obama has delivered his proposal from one to several weeks late. To House Republicans, this is unacceptable.
Tucked away in the 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill the House approved Wednesday was a provision threatening to withhold a large portion of the funding for the Office of Management and Budget until it delivers the fiscal 2016 budget. The spending bill would refrain from giving OMB $52 million -- or 58 percent of its $89.3 million budget -- until the spending request is finalized.
The House Appropriations Committee said in its report on the bill the delay would encourage Obama and OMB to move the appropriations process along more quickly.
“While OMB has many responsibilities, the committee believes their most important one is preparing and submitting the budget request,” the committee wrote. “Delay in the submission of the request can result in the delay of drafting and approval of a budget resolution and appropriations bills. The committee believes in non-transition years, the administration should be held to the statutory deadline for submission of the budget request."
Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget is due Feb. 2, 2015, meaning even if OMB delivered the budget on time, it would have to wait 123 days from the beginning of the fiscal year to receive its full funding. On top of this, the bill funds OMB at $4 million less than Obama’s request for fiscal 2015.
The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate in its current form, citing the OMB provisions and a variety of additional cuts and policies included in it. The legislation would dramatically cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service, gut spending on federal buildings, require six-day mail delivery and slash the budget for White House staffers’ salaries.
In a “statement of administration policy,” White House advisers called the funding withholding “unnecessary.” It also criticized a “burdensome” provision of the bill that would require OMB to submit cost estimates to accompany every executive order.