For the second year in a row, the White House will submit its budget request for the upcoming fiscal year more than a month after the customary first-Monday-in- February deadline.
The Office of Management and Budget this week announced President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget would be released March 4 — about a month later than the traditional deadline.
“Now that Congress has finished its work on this year’s appropriations, the administration is able to finalize next year’s budget,” OMB spokesman Steve Posner said in a statement this week. “We are moving to complete the budget as quickly as possible to help Congress return to regular order in the annual budget process.”
Still, this year’s delay is much smaller than last year, when the budget release came two months late because of the congressional deliberations over annual spending and the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
Last week, Congress passed a spending bill setting agency funding for the rest of fiscal 2014. That followed a budget deal negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last month that restored about $63 billion to agency budgets that otherwise would have been cut under sequestration.
Will Obama propose changes to federal pay, benefits?
In last year’s budget request, Obama proposed a slight 1 percent pay increase for federal employees, who at the time were entering their third year of a pay freeze. The pay bump went into effect earlier this month.
Obama also, however, proposed $20 billion in savings by increasing the amount federal employees are required to contribute to their pensions by 1.2 percent to be phased in over three years. Congress never took that measure up, but the Ryan- Murray budget deal included a similar provision, requiring federal employees hired in 2014 and after to contribute a total of 4.4 percent toward the Federal Employees Retirement System. As it stands now, federal employees hired before 2013 contribute 0.8 percent toward FERS, while workers hired in 2013 contribute 3.1 percent.
It’s unclear what pay and benefits measures the President will propose for next fiscal year. However, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told reporters late last year Obama promised him he wouldn’t propose any retirement benefit cuts in the fiscal 2015 budget.