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Congressional Budget Office

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress.[1] The CBO was created as a nonpartisan agency by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.



The Congressional Budget Office was created by Title II of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act (P.L. 93-344), which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on July 12, 1974. Official operations began on February 24, 1975, with Alice Rivlin as director.


The CBO's mandate is to provide Congress with:

  • Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analysis to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on a wide array of programs covered by the federal budget;
  • And the information and estimates required by the Congressional budget process.[2]

With respect to estimating spending for Congress, the Congressional Budget Office serves a purpose parallel to that of the Joint Committee on Taxation for estimating revenue for Congress, the Department of the Treasury for estimating revenues for the Executive and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. This includes projections on the effect on national debt[3] and cost estimates for legislation.


Section 202(e) of the Budget Act requires submission by CBO to the House and Senate Committees on the Budget periodic reports about fiscal policy and to provide baseline projections of the federal budget. This is currently done by preparation of an annual Economic and Budget Outlook plus a mid-year update. The agency also each year issues An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for the upcoming fiscal year per a standing request of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. These three series are designated essential titles distributed to Federal Depository Libraries and are available for purchase from the Government Printing Office. CBO also prepares reports and issues briefs and provides testimony often in response to requests of the various Congressional Committees. It also issues letters responding to queries made to it by members of Congress.


The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate jointly appoint the CBO Director, after considering recommendations from the two budget committees. The term of office is four years, with no limit on the number of terms a Director may serve. Either House of Congress, however, may remove the Director by resolution. At the expiration of a term of office, the person serving as Director may continue in the position until his or her successor is appointed.


The Congressional Budget Office is divided into eight divisions.[4]

  • Budget Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Health and Human Services
  • Macroeconomic Analysis
  • Management, Business, and Information Services
  • Microeconomic Studies
  • National Security
  • Tax Analysis

Directors of the Congressional Budget Office

Ford House Office Building

Name[5] Begin Date End Date

See also

  • Office for Budget Responsibility (United Kingdom, created 2010)
  • Parliamentary Budget Officer (Canada, created 2008)


Further reading

  • Allen Schick, Felix LoStracco The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process . Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2000.
  • Phillip Joyce, "The Congressional Budget Office: Honest Numbers, Power, and Policymaking". Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

External links

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