The crumbling relationship between Obama and Republicans in Congress has hit a new low with the anticipated arrival of Obama's fiscal 2017 budget, which the GOP plans to ignore completely.
Obama plans to ship his final spending blueprint to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, an annual tradition that is usually followed by hearings on the document in both the House and Senate.
But the top lawmakers on the House and Senate Budget panels, both Republicans, say they've had enough of Obama's fiscal policy and won't hold the customary hearing that gives Obama's Office of Management and Budget director the opportunity to come to Capitol Hill and defend the request. The snub has angered Democrats, who say the GOP move is "insulting."
"Republicans' insulting decision to prevent the director of OMB from presenting the president's budget before the House and Senate Budget Committees belies the corrosive radicalism that has gripped Congressional Republicans," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The Republican chairmen's contemptuous attitude is unworthy of the U.S. Congress and the American people."
But the GOP's decision to deep-six Obama's budget is a fitting finale to the long-strained relationship between Obama and Republicans, particularly when it comes to spending and taxes. Republicans and Obama have struggled unsuccessfully to bridge huge differences when it comes to fiscal policy, and they've never endorsed an Obama administration budget.
Republican reactions to past Obama budgets include "not serious," "a job killer," and "laughable," and when they came to votes, most Democrats voted against them too.
But as White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week, Obama's spending blueprint has always received a hearing.
"It certainly does raise some questions about how serious Republicans actually are about governing the country," Earnest said Friday in reaction to the news that the GOP will not hold a hearing on the budget. "It also raises some questions about how confident they are in the kinds of arguments that they could make about the budget. Maybe they are taking the Donald Trump approach to debates about the budget. They are just not going to show up."
While his budget has yet to be released, Obama revealed last week that his plan includes a proposal to impose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil. The revenue would be spent on expanding the nation's transit system and on investments in clean energy.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the proposal, "dead on arrival."
Republicans in both the House and Senate are working on their own budget plans, which are likely to reduce the growth of federal spending and the cost of entitlements like Medicare and welfare.
But the president's spending blueprint has traditionally marked the start of the budget process by outlining his spending priorities, how much the federal government should collect in taxes and how big of a deficit the federal government should run.
Other committees have scheduled budget hearings with the heads of the agencies they oversee for next week. But the Budget Committee isn't interested.
The Republican chairmen in both chambers put out an unusual joint announcement cancelling the hearing on Obama's budget that typically would have occurred this week.
Republicans said they believe Obama's budget plan will be loaded with new spending proposals while leaving out a plan to reduce spending and tackle entitlement reform, which are top GOP priorities.
"Rather than spend time on a proposal that, if anything like this administration's previous budgets, will double down on the same failed policies that have led to the worst economic recovery in modern times, Congress should continue our work on building a budget that balances and that will foster a healthy economy," said House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga.