The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan in a letter delivered Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law.

Zients blamed the delay on the late passage of the “fiscal cliff” deal, and wrote that the administration is “working diligently on our budget request.”

Under the law, President Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.

Ryan last Wednesday had asked the White House in a letter if it would miss the deadline, and Republicans are likely to hammer the administration more the later the budget is delivered.

Ryan’s office says that Obama has missed the budget deadline more than any president since the 1920s. Obama’s first budget was delayed until May, while his second budget was delivered on time. The last two budgets were late but came in February.

Congress and the White House struck a deal on New Year’s Eve on the “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax hikes. The agreement extended current tax rates on annual household income below $450,000, but allowed rates on income above that threshold to expire.

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