The day the White House releases its budget for the year may seem more wonky than political, but it plays into the same optics as any other public debate.
The White House certainly had optics in mind when it decided on the setting for President Obama's speech unveiling his $4 trillion budget. Obama spoke Monday morning at the Homeland Security Department's National Operations Center, where some employees would be forced to work without pay if Republicans in Congress do not reach a deal with the White House by the end of the month.
Speaking to a crowd of Homeland Security employees, Obama eschewed his usual sell of economic populism and instead argued that the economic security provided in his budget is inextricably linked with national security. In his speech, Obama said his budget increases defense funding to confront challenges "from ISIL to Russian aggression," and he derided sequestration as "mindless, across-the-board cuts."
If the White House does not reach a deal with Congress on sequestration by Feb. 27, most of Homeland Security's 280,000 employees will continue to work, but without pay, until an agreement is reached. On Monday, Obama called on Republicans to "put politics aside" and pass his budget, or face the consequences.