President Donald Trump is ignoring the law today.
And no one really cares.
In a normal year, policy staff at the White House, Cabinet departments and on Capitol Hill — along with reporters and photographers — would be nursing post-Super Bowl hangovers with a good dose of “Analytical Perspectives” and the rest of the volumes that comprise the president’s budget request.
The fiscal 2020 budget request was due Monday, even though the fiscal 2019 appropriations process has still not been finished.
Watch: What is a national emergency? How Congress gave the White House broad, far-reaching powers
Interns and junior staffers used to line up outside what is now known as the Government Publishing Office early in the morning to wait for printed copies and compact discs containing the text of the books, until the internet finally made that excursion unnecessary.
And Monday would have also brought the photo-ops of the Budget Committee leadership accepting copies of the freshly printed budgets in their House and Senate offices.
The Roll Call archives have a lifetime supply of photos of former Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota leafing through the annual documents, which lawmakers don’t usually pay much attention to when it comes time to write their own budgets or new spending and tax laws.
A 1990 budget law says that Monday was the deadline for the request, but there is no penalty for not hitting the target date. It has been missed throughout history, and Congress has often failed to follow federal budget deadlines as well.
“On or after the first Monday in January but not later than the first Monday in February of each year, the president shall submit a budget of the United States government for the following fiscal year,” the law says.
OMB itself was among the government agencies subject to the prolonged partial government shutdown, and the budget submission wouldn’t normally come out ahead of the president’s State of the Union address, which was rescheduled for Tuesday evening.
Besides that, the current OMB director has some extra responsibilities, with Mick Mulvaney also serving as the acting White House chief of staff. Russell Vought, the deputy director, has been serving as the leader of OMB in Mulvaney’s place.
Mulvaney played golf with Trump in Florida on Sunday.
A senior OMB official said in a statement last week that the budget would not be sent to Capitol Hill on schedule.
“We will not be transmitting the president’s budget next week,” the official said Friday. “OMB is working on a revised schedule and will provide additional information when it’s available.”
That information became available later on Monday, when OMB began sharing notice that it will release portions of the fiscal 2020 budget the week of March 11, with the rest issued the following week.