A 1990 budget law sets a deadline every year for the White House: The president’s budget must be presented to Congress by the first Monday of February. That didn’t happen yesterday, and no one on Capitol Hill seems to have noticed, especially not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It’s just one more broken norm from Trump. This deadline, though mandated by law, has slid a bit before, but this time around there’s not even any indication that there’s a White House budget forthcoming this month at all. It’s supposed to come from the Office of Management and Budget, and that agency’s director is kind of preoccupied by other things. Mick Mulvaney is also wearing the hat of Trump’s chief of staff, temporarily anyway. He spent the weekend in Florida, golfing with Trump. So the budget might not be the highest priority.
“We will not be transmitting the president’s budget next week,” an OMB official said Friday. “OMB is working on a revised schedule and will provide additional information when it’s available.” That news didn’t make a ripple in the Senate, where normally the chair of the Budget Committee makes a really big deal out of accepting the budget and responding to it, especially when the president sending it is one of their own party. That’s a norm McConnell isn’t even pretending to enforce—he’s not commented on the lack of a budget at all.
Not that this is new for McConnell, breaking these norms. Throughout President Barack Obama’s second term, McConnell’s majority actually snubbed the OMB, refusing to give Obama’s budget a hearing. That disrespect was unprecedented, but hardly a surprise coming from McConnell’s team.
McConnell’s Senate is not only the most undemocratic in modern history; it’s the most dangerous to our republic.