May 1, 2013  

Budget blunder

To the Obama administration for counting on Congress to help fix things.

The Defense Department’s $527 billion request for fiscal 2014 is quite close to the projection made last year (not including an impending request for tens of billions of dollars for Afghanistan and other operations), but it ignores the sequestration law’s $475 billion cap. The White House, therefore, is banking on Congress’ willingness, essentially, to repeal the Budget Control Act of 2011, at least as far as defense spending goes. Nice try.

Recall that sequestration itself was created, literally, to be a situation too painful and stupid to endure. If the fiscal-cliff clamor that dominated the news just a few months ago wasn’t enough to keep lawmakers from plunging right over, why should the coming months be any different?

By sending over a budget that was dead on arrival, the administration abdicated its responsibility to shape the 2014 budget. Now it will be up to Congress to decide what happens. History, recent experience and prudence demanded preparing for the worst. The White House — and the Pentagon — blew it.