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Republicans propose blocking SOTU speech if president doesn’t submit budget on time

Some Republicans in Congress want to hold Biden and future presidents accountable to the budget deadline with a simple penalty. No plans on time, no grand speech.

President Biden is preparing to deliver a State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress after again missing his deadline to present spending and national security plans to Congress. 

Some Republicans in Congress want to hold Biden and future presidents accountable to the deadline with a simple penalty. No plans on time, no grand speech under a proposal titled the SUBMIT IT Act, short for Send Us Budget Materials & International Tactics In Time.

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 – updated several times – requires a president to submit his budget request to Congress no later than the first Monday in February. The National Security Act of 1947 requires the president to submit a national security proposal for the same day. But there is no enforcement mechanism for either, which is where the SUBMIT IT Act could come in. 


“President Biden’s budget was due on Feb. 5, yet Congress has seen nothing,” Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., who sponsored the bill, told Fox News Digital. 

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“This is irresponsible. Until Congress receives the president’s national security strategy and budget, he has no business delivering a State of the Union address,” Carter added. 

The SUBMIT IT Act would prohibit House or Senate leadership from inviting the president to address a joint session of Congress until Congress gets both plans. 

If passed, the bill would affect the State of the Union going into 2025 and onward. This won’t have any impact on Biden’s State of the Union address this year, scheduled for March 7. 

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Biden’s tardiness is not unique, as his four immediate predecessors from both parties were also late in getting their plans to Congress – including his likely 2024 Republican opponent, Donald Trump. So, rather than a partisan problem, it’s largely a long-running issue between two branches of government. 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced a Senate version. 

“If the president is going to be allowed the opportunity to address Congress and the entire nation, he should actually have a plan in place,” Ernst said in a public statement when announcing the Senate version. “At a time when Americans are facing skyrocketing inflation and the world is on fire, we deserve more than just empty rhetoric.”

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Biden’s budget proposals in the past three years missed the deadline by 115, 49, and 31 days, respectively, noted Kurt Couchman, a senior fellow in fiscal policy at Americans for Prosperity. 

“Over the past several decades, presidents’ budget and defense proposals have been delayed more and more as missed deadlines have become an ever-more common symptom of the breakdown of the budget process,” Couchman said in a public statement supporting the legislation. “Congress and the American people deserve the opportunity to see and evaluate the president’s requests in a timely manner.” 

Trump, who was 38 days late in his first year, and his three immediate predecessors missed the budget deadline as well, according to Roll Call. President Barack Obama was late by 98 days in submitting his first budget proposal in 2009, according to a Congressional Research Service report. President George W. Bush was 63 days in his fiscal 2003 plan. In 1993, President Bill Clinton was 66 days late. 

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The Congressional Research Service report noted the deadline was changed several times. Previously required in January, the most recent adjustment was in 1990, when the deadline was changed to say, “on or after the first Monday in January but not later than the first Monday in February of each year.”

The Constitution requires the president to submit a State of the Union update to Congress, but nothing requires that message to be a speech to a joint session. Every president from Thomas Jefferson through William Howard Taft submitted a written annual message to Congress. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson broke that tradition with a speech to a joint session of Congress. 

The speech to a joint session requires an invitation from congressional leadership, which has typically been a formality. 

But in 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., threatened to withhold an invitation Trump to speak until the partial government shutdown ended. Trump suggested he would deliver the address at an alternative location. The shutdown ended, and Pelosi invited him to speak. 

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