OMB director ‘disappointed’ by likely continuing resolution

OMB Director Shaun Donovan on Thursday said he's disappointed that Congress has fallen the same budget gridlock as last year, and warned against relying on long...

Having just returned from its seven-week summer break, Congress has until the end of September to pass a budget for the next fiscal year. But no bills have crossed President Barack Obama’s desk yet, so it appears likely that a continuing resolution will usher in FY 2017.

However, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Thursday said he’s disappointed that Congress has fallen the same budget gridlock as last year, and warned against relying on long-term CRs to fund the federal government.

“I’m disappointed that we are 20 days away from the fiscal year ending and the President hasn’t had a single bill come to his desk,” Donovan said at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Advocating for a metrics-based approach to funding government programs, Donovan said running the federal bureaucracy on “autopilot” through long-term CRs doesn’t give Congress the power to adjust funding to the best-performing programs.

“We’re very concerned to hear some Republicans saying we ought to do a longer-run CR,” Donovan said. “If you really want to run the government based on evidence, the worst thing you can do is put the government on autopilot. A long-term CR, by definition, is saying ‘let’s just take what we did last year and do it again.'”

Congress passed a two-year budget deal that was signed the President in Nov. 2015, but Donovan said the bipartisan momentum from that deal has petered out for fiscal 2017.

“They ought to focus on getting their job done, and there is 20 days to try to at least move the ball forward. Having said that, if it’s not possible to get appropriations done in the next 20 days, they ought to get a very short-term CR done and then come right back after the election and let’s finish the appropriations.”

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