Congressional Budget Office

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Congressional Budget Office
Seal of the Unites States Congress.svg
Agency overview
Formed July 12, 1974
Headquarters Ford House Office Building, 4th Floor
Second and D Streets, SW
Washington, D.C. 20515
Employees 235
Annual budget $46.8 million
(FY 2011)
Agency executive

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides budget and economic information 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. This includes projections on the effect on national debt and cost estimates for legislation.[3]


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, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis
  • Macroeconomic Analysis
  • Management, Business, and Information Services
  • Microeconomic Studies
  • National Security
  • Tax Analysis

Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025

File:Federal Debt Held by the Public.png
CBO expects that the deficit this year will be $426 billion––$60 billion less than projected in March. The economy is expected to expand modestly this year, at a solid pace in 2016 and 2017, and at a more moderate pace in subsequent years.

Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the nation. When interest rates returned to more typical, higher levels, federal spending on interest payments would increase substantially. Because federal borrowing reduces national saving over time, the nation’s capital stock would ultimately be smaller, and productivity and total wages would be lower than they would be if the debt was smaller. Lawmakers would have less flexibility than otherwise to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges. Continued growth in the debt might lead investors to doubt the government’s willingness or ability to pay its obligations, which would require the government to pay much higher interest rates on its borrowing.[5]

Directors of the Congressional Budget Office

Ford House Office Building
Name[6] Begin Date End Date
Hall, KeithKeith Hall April 1, 2015 Present
Elmendorf, Douglas W.Douglas W. Elmendorf January 22, 2009 March 31, 2015
Sunshine, Robert A.Robert A. Sunshine (Acting) November 25, 2008 January 22, 2009
Orszag, Peter R.Peter R. Orszag January 18, 2007 November 25, 2008
Marron Jr., Donald B.Donald B. Marron Jr. (Acting) December 29, 2005 January 2007
Holtz-Eakin, DouglasDouglas Holtz-Eakin February 5, 2003 December 29, 2005
Anderson, Barry B.Barry B. Anderson (Acting) January 3, 2003 February 5, 2003
Crippen, Dan L.Dan L. Crippen February 3, 1999 January 3, 2003
Blum, JamesJames Blum (Acting) January 29, 1999 February 3, 1999
O'Neill, June E.June E. O'Neill[7] March 1, 1995 January 29, 1999
Reischauer, Robert D.Robert D. Reischauer March 6, 1989 February 28, 1995
Blum, James L.James L. Blum (Acting)
March 6, 1989
Gramlich, EdwardEdward Gramlich (Acting) April 28, 1987
Penner, Rudolph G.Rudolph G. Penner September 1, 1983 April 28, 1987
Rivlin, Alice M.Alice M. Rivlin February 24, 1975 August 31, 1983

See also


  1. Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 388. ISBN 0-13-063085-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "CBO Fact Sheet". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 10 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Staffing and Organization". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 19 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Congressional Budget Office: Appointment and Tenure of the Director and Deputy Director" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Garrett, Major (February 8, 1995). "Professor chosen as CBO director; O'Neill worked for Nixon, Ford". The Washington Times. p. A11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    "Leader chosen for Congress Budget Office". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 11, 1995. p. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Piain, Eric (February 11, 1995). "Professor named new CBO head; June O'Neill favors price index change". The Washington Post. p. A4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Hill, Patrice (February 11, 1995). "Chambers compromise on pick; Conventional economist O'Neill gets nod to head CBO". The Washington Times. p. A4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Wines, Michael (April 23, 1995). "From the Bronx to the Budget Office; A free-market theorist is Congress's new top number cruncher". The New York Times. p. 20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Piain, Eric (September 4, 1995). "Honeymoon over for Kasich and handpicked budget maven". The Washington Post. p. A23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Stevenson, Richard W. (October 29, 1998). "$70 billion surplus as U.S. closes books on 1998 fiscal year". The New York Times. p. A20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Piain, Eric (October 29, 1998). "June O'Neill to depart CBO early; Embattled director to return to academia". The Washington Post. p. A25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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