In his latest move to defy election results, President Donald J. Trump has ordered federal agencies to continue preparing the administration’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year, according to multiple administration officials who spoke with The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is Jan. 20, 2020, however, Trump has still not acknowledged his failure to regain his post in the Oval Office. The White House budget proposal is typically issued in February, which would be at least two weeks after President Trump is scheduled to depart the White House. The Biden administration is scheduled to submit their own budget plan to Congress early next year.
On Monday, the Trump White House instructed senior government officials to not cooperate with Biden’s transition team, igniting a potential legal battle.
“They’re pretending nothing happened,” one government official involved in the federal budget process said. “We’re all supposed to pretend this is normal, and do all this work, while we know we’re just going to have to throw it away.”
Chantel Boyens, former senior OMB official under the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, said it is common for outgoing administrations to work on aspects of the budget after losing an election, but not to this capacity.
“The preparations going on now are not surprising given the administration’s position on the outcome of the election,” said Boyens, now a policy associate at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “At the point at which you know the outcome of the election, it would not make sense to continue formulating policy recommendations for a new budget to be put out by the outgoing administration.”