Nov. 28 is “Passback Day” for the U.S. government, when the White House and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pass back drafts of proposed budgets for the next fiscal year to agencies and departments and begin negotiations on a final budget proposal.
The Washington Post reports that the passbacks used to happen the day before Thanksgiving, but OMB Director Jacob J. Lew changed the schedule to end what he called “cruel and unusual punishment” for agency heads hoping to enjoy time with their families during the holiday.
OMB officials said this year’s pass back would begin as scheduled despite the recent failure of the congressional “supercommittee” to reach a deal on cutting federal spending and no clear sense of how lawmakers may proceed. “It’s going to be really strange to pass back without knowing” what Congress might decide to do about spending, former OMB budget official Barry Anderson said. “OMB may pass back a set of numbers that are fundamentally different than what the law will be, if Congress doesn’t find $1.2 trillion worth of cuts.”