- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another annual budget deadline has come and gone without a report from the Obama administration.

This time the Office of Management and Budget missed the July 16 deadline for a midsession review, which updates spending, tax collection and deficit numbers from the February budget proposal and is due to Congress every year on the same date.

Failing to meet budget deadlines and releasing documents late has become common practice for the administration, and Republicans cite the tardiness as a sign that the White House is not making the nation’s fiscal health a priority.

Considering the severity of the economic downturn, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said in an interview that any good chief executive would be eager for the American people to know the state of the country’s finances and how economic developments over the past six months affect the future.

“It’s required by law – I don’t know why the president wouldn’t want to comply by it,” Mr. Sessions told The Washington Times.

The OMB did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An agency spokeswoman told The Hill newspaper earlier this week that “there will be a midsession review and timing is still being determined.”

Earlier this year, the White House released its 2013 budget proposal late for the third year in a row. Federal law requires the OMB to send Congress its budget on the first Monday in February, but the budget didn’t arrive on Congress’ doorstep until one week later, Feb. 13. Last year, the White House also let the midsession review slip until Sept. 1.

Senate Democrats also have failed to pass a budget — or even bring a spending blueprint to the floor for consideration — for three consecutive years.

Mr. Sessions and other Republicans say President Obama and his budget aides are delaying the midsession review in the middle of a tough re-election to avoid showing their fiscal cards to voters, and argue that the revised budget numbers would show that revenue from Mr. Obama’s proposal to allow taxes to rise for the wealthiest Americans would be devoted to new spending — not deficit reduction.

“I believe they’ve made a strategic decision to not talk about the nation’s financial situation in any serious way,” Mr. Sessions said. “I’ve concluded that the president and Senate Democrats don’t want a national discussion because it would expose the fact that their only solution is to raise taxes and continue high deficits and they are resisting accountability as much as possible.”

Failure to produce a midsession review in a timely manner will only “further damage the president’s credibility” when it comes to seriously tackling deficit reduction, he said.

• Susan Crabtree can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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