The not-so-mysterious OMB delay

THE NOT-SO-MYSTERIOUS OMB DELAY…. Yesterday, the White House announced that the Office of Management and Budget’s midsummer budget update is going to be delayed a bit. This wasn’t especially surprising, but the AP reported, “The release of the update — usually scheduled for mid-July — has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.”

That’s a little misleading. The only real “speculation” that the administration is trying to bury bad budget news is coming from the media and congressional Republicans. Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, for example, said yesterday that President Obama “is refusing to release a critical report on the state of our economy, which contains facts essential to this debate. What is he hiding?”

Before these claims go too far around the bend, let’s make note of reality here — OMB midyear reports are frequently delayed during presidential transition years. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained this yesterday:

“Look, as happens in virtually every transition year in government, mid-year reviews tend to get pushed back because of the transition of moving people in and out of their former and current jobs. For instance, the mid-session review under the most previous administration took place on August 22. President Clinton’s first year in office, the review was released on September the 1st.

“So I think the notion that this is somehow motivated by anything other than a transition from one administration to the next is a little on the silly side.”

Those looking for a new scandal will have to look elsewhere.