Senate Republicans are sending a letter Monday to the White House budget office arguing that President Obama’s nominee to be treasury secretary, Jacob “Jack” Lew, was complicit in breaking a Medicare budget law.
The letter comes the same day that Mr. Obama officially missed another deadline in the budget law by failing to submit his blueprint on the first Monday in February. The president has only met that deadline once in his tenure.
On the Medicare funding issue, federal law requires that if the program’s funding becomes imbalanced, its trustees are required to issue a warning, and the president is required to send Congress a plan to repair the finances.
Then-President George W. Bush did just that during his time in the White House, but Mr. Obama has never filed the submission.
“The administration has failed each of the last four years to response to these funding warnings despite receiving several communications from Congress urging them to comply,” eight Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee said in a letter to the White House.
Mr. Lew was director of the White House budget office in 2010 and 2011 during the time when the Medicare submission was required, and the senators said they want to know whether he was complicit in ignoring the law.
As the head of the Treasury Department the secretary is chairman of the Board of Medicare Trustees.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, has repeatedly demanded the Obama administration comply with the Medicare law.
He and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan wrote Mr. Obama in 2011 demanding he submit the plan required by law.
But budget and notification laws are routinely ignored.
Mr. Obama has missed this year’s legal deadline for submitting a budget, blaming the late passage of the tax increase deal early last month.
And Congress hasn’t passed a budget since 2009, even though the Budget Act of 1974 requires it to adopt a budget resolution by April 15 every year.
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Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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