Still Waiting for Date of Biden Budget, Congressional Address

Still Waiting for Date of Biden Budget, Congressional Address

February 12, 2021  | Jeff Davis

When will we see President Biden’s budget proposal?

Starting with Ronald Reagan in 1981, every new president has given his first speech to a joint session of Congress sometime in February of his first year in office, with the economy and budget as the topic. For Reagan, and his immediate successor, George H.W. Bush, the address was accompanied by a package of proposed changes to the federal budget that the previous president had submitted to Congress on his way out of office.

The law was changed in 1990 to move the required submission date of the annual budget from January 18 to the first Monday in February, which gives the outgoing president the option to leave the budget proposal to his successor. All post-1990 presidents have taken this option. In those four instances, the new President has given an economic address to a joint session of Congress in February, followed closely by the release of a short (50 to 200-ish pages) budget summary document. The full budget, along with the tens of thousands of pages of supporting documentation from federal departments and agencies, would follow from two to six weeks later.

New Address to Overview Full
POTUS CY Congress Document Budget
Clinton 1993 Feb, 17 Feb. 17 April 8
G.W.Bush 2001 Feb. 27 Feb. 28 April 9
Obama 2009 Feb. 24 Feb 26 May 7
Trump 2017 Feb. 28 Feb. 28 March 16

Again, starting with Reagan, the summary document released in the initial days of the new Administration has some kind of catchy name:

There is still no timeframe for when President Biden will make such a speech, or when he will submit a budget. A speech is unlikely before Congress completes action on the pending COVID-19 reconciliation bill, and the earliest that Congress could feasibly complete that bill is the last week in February, so it is unlikely that a Biden speech will come before March.

(As to the budget itself, because of the Florida recount and court cases, GSA did not provide George W. Bush with transition resources until December 14, 2000. GSA did the same thing for Joe Biden on November 23, 2020, putting Biden three weeks ahead of GWB. However, Team Biden maintains that even after this, the outgoing Trump OMB did not provide their team with access to the OMB computer systems that are needed to make the calculations necessary to start considering budget options.)

The budget summary books given out around the time of a new president’s speech don’t have enough detail for the Appropriations Committee to start drafting spending bills, or for other committees to start drafting portions of the new Administration’s agenda. But they do usually have enough information for Congress to draft a budget resolution, which does at least two things. The budget resolution will tell the Appropriations Committees how much they can spend in 2022 (this was less important when the Budget Control Act spending caps were in force, but those expire at the end of fiscal 2021, so the 2022 budget matters a lot more than in recent years). And it will order another round of budget reconciliation, which will definitely be used to implement the Biden Administration’s tax policy and may also be used to address infrastructure spending as well.

In Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush’s first year, their initial budget submission led right into the Congressional budget resolution which then commissioned a reconciliation bill that was signed into law. But this process can take time:

Act Signed Public Law #
OBRA 1981 Aug. 13, 1981 97-35
OBRA 1993 Aug. 10, 1993 103-66
EGTRA 2001 Jun. 6, 2001 107-16
Share

Related Articles

CBO Updates Transportation Tax, Spending Forecasts

CBO Updates Transportation Tax, Spending Forecasts

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued its updated Budget and Economic Outlook for the year yesterday. The headline news out...

Still Waiting for Date of Biden Budget, Congressional Address

Still Waiting for Date of Biden Budget, Congressional Address

When will we see President Biden's budget proposal? Starting with Ronald Reagan in 1981, every new president has given his first speech...

Democratic Leaders Intend $57.5 Billion for Transportation in New COVID-Stimulus Bill

Democratic Leaders Intend $57.5 Billion for Transportation in New COVID-Stimulus Bill

Plans by Congressional Democratic leaders for new legislation providing $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 aid and economic stimulus call for $57.5...

Rapid Response Webinar: AMA with Jeff Davis on CR and FAST Act Extension

Rapid Response Webinar: AMA with Jeff Davis on CR and FAST Act Extension

Congress is acting on a ten-week appropriations extension and a year-long FAST Act extension. How will these be implemented, and what does...

Road to Recovery Webinar: The Federal Role in Transit's COVID Recovery

Road to Recovery Webinar: The Federal Role in Transit's COVID Recovery

Public transportation has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The stay at home orders have dramatically reduced ridership,...

Trump Requests $89 Billion for USDOT in FY 2021 Budget

Trump Requests $89 Billion for USDOT in FY 2021 Budget

The Trump Administration today released its fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress, which includes $89.2 billion in gross budgetary...

Updated HTF Forecast From CBO Due Jan. 28

Updated HTF Forecast From CBO Due Jan. 28

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will release its annual Budget and Economic Outlook report at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. As...

House Passes Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Spend-Down Bill

House Passes Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Spend-Down Bill

Yesterday evening, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 2440) that would allow the immediate spending of over $9 billion in...

House to Consider Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Spend-Down Bill Next Week

House to Consider Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Spend-Down Bill Next Week

The House of Representatives is likely to consider H.R. 2440, the "Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act," on the floor...

Senate Adjourns for 5 Weeks After Clearing Budget Deal, Nominees

Senate Adjourns for 5 Weeks After Clearing Budget Deal, Nominees

A week after the House of Representatives left town for the remainder of the summer, the U.S. Senate followed suit today, after clearing...

House Passes 2-Year Budget/Debt Limit Deal

House Passes 2-Year Budget/Debt Limit Deal

July 25, 2019 The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, by a roll call vote of 284 to 149 at...

2-Year Appropriations and Debt Limit Deal Reached

2-Year Appropriations and Debt Limit Deal Reached

July 23, 2019 (1:00 a.m.) Later this week, the House of Representatives will consider a new bipartisan budget bill introduced last night...

Be Part of the Conversation
Sign up to receive news, events, publications, and course notifications.
No thanks