Obama budget delayed until April

The Obama administration will release its 2014 budget more than two months late on April 8, according to congressional sources.

Pentagon officials have informed the House Armed Services Committee that the budget is coming on April 8, said Claude Chafin, a committee spokesman. A Democratic congressional source confirmed that is the planned release date.

The April release means President Obama's budget will be nine weeks late, as it was due by law on Feb. 4, the first Monday in February.

Republicans have slammed Obama for delaying the budget so far past the deadline.

"This indicates a troubling unwillingness to lead," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said of the new delay. "It is odd to me that the president would not have a plan and want the Congress to consider it."

“Will he ever commit himself to a plan? He has been very effective in criticizing others,” Sessions said. “The budget is so late, it doesn’t give me much confidence. It is almost like he is leading from behind even more that before. “

Congressional sources said last week that they had been told the budget was coming on March 25, meaning the latest April 8 release date would be yet another delay.

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Under the law, the president must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but Obama has met the deadline only once.

The White House declined to confirm the budget delay at a press briefing on Friday.

"I don't have a budget date to announce to you," White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.

But Earnest also pointed the finger at Congress when explaining the lengthy delay in producing a budget document.

"The budget has been delayed because some of the impediments that have been thrown in the path of those working on it," Earnest said, citing the sequester and the “fiscal cliff" as complicating the budget forecast.

The administration’s budget typically kicks off the annual budgeting process, as Congress then shapes its budget resolution on the president's request.

But this year that process is reversed, as both House Budget Commitee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are planning to release their 2014 budgets next week.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees started their 2014 budget hearings with military officials this week without a budget.

A GOP congressional aide said that the delay is fueling what's already a high level of budget anxiety in the Pentagon due to sequester and the lack of a 2013 budget resolution.

"Budget delays fuel uncertainty in the military, an uncertainty that is already being inflicted through sequester," the aide said. "It is precisely this kind of uncertainty that the uniformed senior commanders have asked Congress and the Commander and Chief to prevent."

The White House has blamed the hold-up on the uncertainty caused by fights over the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the continuing resolution to fund the government that expires March 27.

Sessions blasted the administration last week when it appeared the budget would come at the end of March.

“He will be submitting it after the House and Senate have produced a budget proposal and adjourned for Easter. So while the President speaks of his deep concern for American workers and families, he fails to even submit to Congress his financial plan to help those workers and families," Sessions said.

— Erik Wasson and Justin Sink contributed.

This story was last updated at 2:41 p.m.