WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Monday criticized President Barack Obama for missing a legal deadline to present a budget to Congress.
It was the fourth time in five years the President has missed the deadline for a budget blueprint, which is the first Monday in February.
The White House said this year's budget blueprint was delayed by the last-minute passage earlier this month of the tax hikes aimed at averting the so-called "fiscal cliff." It said negotiations over that plan forced it to delay its budget preparations.
Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican and a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said, "On the day President Obama is required by law to submit a budget, we're hearing crickets from the White House.
"It's the same on Capitol Hill, where Senate Democrats have failed for nearly four years to pass a budget for the country while nearly $6 trillion has been added to our debt," said Ayotte. "The President is not above the law. He's legally required to send Congress a budget on time, and there's no excuse that this is the fourth time in five years that he's missed the deadline.
"With four straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits, we can't afford to keep operating without a budget," said Ayotte.
The Washington Times reported that President George W. Bush was late once in his eight years in office, President Bill Clinton was late twice and presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were each late once.