Things of Note

Not So Current Services

Not at all surprisingly, the statutory requirement for the Presidential current services budget was missed. No one mentioned it because no one knows, and those who do know, don’t care: It was in January. Under section 1109 of title 31 (U.S. Code), the President must submit his current services budget  “on or before the first Monday after January 3 of each year”.

Why should anyone care? Because this is what the current services budget is defined as:

the estimated budget outlays and proposed budget authority that would be included in the budget for the following fiscal year if programs and activities of the United States Government were carried on during that year at the same level as the current fiscal year without a change in policy.

So effectively, everyone waits around for a month just so the President can put the finishing touches on his policy proposals. Even when successful, such as President’ Bush’s Medicare prescription drug proposal, or President Obama’s health care plan or President Trump’s tax reform, those were all based on broad outlines, not the details.

When inquiring as to why the current services budget was not submitted on time, the helpful answer was “it comes with the President’s budget submission”. It does, but that, of course, is not until a month later.

The essential matter is that no one cares, really, about the President’s policies, what is in the budget is the guts of the government and has been since the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 required its submission to Congress nearly a century ago.