There have been no official announcements by the Administration, but with Congress once again unable to complete a budget before the end of the calendar year, (and maybe a reconciliation that would change programs) that likely sets back the planning, budget baseline and so many other factors that go into publishing an annual budget by the required first Monday in February—Monday, February 7, 2022. In fact, the current FY 2022 funding will expire at midnight February 18, 2022.


It has become a rarity for the White House to meet that target. That is expected for new presidents as they adjust the budget their predecessor has written up and left behind. But even in non-transition years that first Monday target has gone by the wayside.


In part that is because the last time Congress approved all 12 appropriations by the October 1, start to the federal fiscal year was 1996 under President Bill Clinton. That year there were 13 separate bills instead of the current 12 appropriations. 1996 Congress combined several bills to meet the deadline, but they finalized all decisions before October 1. The very last time Congress passed each of the separate appropriations bills and had the President sign them into law individually was 1994, when President Clinton signed all 13 bills before October 1, 1994. Little did anyone know back then, when Congress was unable to pass a universal health care bill before the 1994 congressional elections, that the days of passing appropriations on time would not happen again for more than a quarter century (and counting).


That means that only six current members of the Senate were senators in 1994 the last time appropriations were approved on time: Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA), Leahy (D-VT), McConnell (R-KY), Murray (D-WA), and Shelby (D-AL—before he switched parties). There were also four House members who are now senators: Cardin (D-MD), Durbin (D-IL), Sanders I-VT) and Wyden (D-OR). That means that 90 percent of the Senate have not even experienced an appropriations process that followed the law set down in the 1974 Budget Control Act that was created to bring order and timeframes to the appropriations process. The two heads of Senate Appropriations (Leahy and Shelby are retiring next year). In the House only 27 members, a little more than 6 percent, have experienced an appropriations process that is on time and avoids talk of shutdowns.