White House to delay budget update

The White House will delay issuing an update of its budget by one month, drawing criticism from Republicans who have attacked President Obama's handling of the economy.

The mid-year budget update, usually released July 15, will be made public in August.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said in June after an appearance before lawmakers that the budget update would come in August. The Associated Press on Monday confirmed its delay.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) portrayed the delay as the Democrats' attempt to hide record deficit projections while they seek to pass a massive healthcare bill. The independent Congressional Budget Office has said the deficit could hit $1.8 trillion by year’s end and that the healthcare bill moving through the House won't rein in the growing deficit in future years.

"Washington Democrats are spending with reckless abandon, yet by burying this budget update until after Congress leaves town next month, the administration is not willing to own up to the consequences of this dangerous fiscal agenda," Boehner said in a statement.

A delay to the budget, however, isn't unusual; President Bill Clinton's first budget update came in August and President George W. Bush's initial budget update arrived in July.

Stan Collender, a former budget aide for House and Senate Democrats, said a delay should be expected as an administration takes office. Obama, weeks after his inauguration, released a budget outline in February, when administrations usually release their full budget. Obama's full budget document came in May.

"That's typical when the White House changes hands," said Collender, now a partner at Qorvis Communications.

But the struggling economy also gives Obama incentive to hold off on making more projections. Unemployment hit 9.5 percent in June, the highest rate in 26 years and higher than the administration's projections of 8 percent, made at the start of the year.

"The economy is getting better and the longer they wait, the better news they may have in the mid-year," Collender said.