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Congressional Budget Office

Second and D Streets SW., Washington, DC 20515


Office of the Director

Office of the Director
DIRECTORPhillip L. Swagel
Deputy DirectorMark P. Hadley

General Counsel(vacancy)
Senior AdvisorRobert A. Sunshine
CommunicationsDeborah Kilroe
Economic AnalysisWendy Edelberg
Jeffrey Kling
Legislative AffairsLeigh Angres

Other Divisions

Other Divisions
Budget AnalysisTheresa A. Gullo
Financial AnalysisSebastien Gay
Health, Retirement, and Long-Term AnalysisDavid Weaver
Macroeconomic AnalysisJeffrey F. Werling
Assistant Director, Microeconomic StudiesJoseph Kile
National SecurityDavid E. Mosher
Tax AnalysisJohn McClelland

Management, Business, and Information ServicesJoseph E. Evans, Jr.

The Congressional Budget Office independently analyzes budgetary and economic issues to support the congressional budget process.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was established by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 601), which also created a procedure by which the Congress considers and acts on the annual Federal budget. This process enables the Congress to have an overview of the Federal budget and to make overall decisions on spending and taxation levels and on the deficit or surplus these levels generate.


The CBO assists the congressional budget committees with drafting and enforcing the annual budget resolution, which serves as a blueprint for total levels of Government spending and revenues in a fiscal year. Once completed, the budget resolution guides the action of other congressional committees in drafting subsequent spending and revenue legislation within their jurisdiction.

To support this process, the CBO makes budgetary and economic projections, analyzes the proposals set forth in the President's budget request, and details alternative spending and revenue options for lawmakers to consider. The CBO also provides cost estimates of bills approved by congressional committees and tracks the progress of spending and revenue legislation in a scorekeeping system. CBO cost estimates and scorekeeping help the budget committees determine whether the budgetary effects of individual proposals are consistent with the most recent spending and revenue targets.

Upon congressional request, the CBO also produces reports analyzing specific policy and program issues that are significant for the budget. In keeping with the Office's nonpartisan role, its analyses do not include policy recommendations, and they routinely disclose their underlying assumptions and methods. This open and nonpartisan stance has been instrumental in preserving the credibility of the Office's analyses.

Analysis of the President's Budget

The CBO estimates the budgetary impact of the proposals in the President's budget using its own economic forecast and assumptions. The CBO's independent reestimate allows Congress to compare the administration's spending and revenue proposals with the CBO's baseline projections and other proposals using a consistent set of economic and technical assumptions.

Baseline Budget Projections and Economic Forecasts

Each year, the CBO issues reports on the budget and economic outlook that cover the 10-year period used in the congressional budget process. Those reports present and explain the CBO's baseline budget projections and economic forecast, which are generally based on current law regarding Federal spending and revenues. The reports also describe the differences between the current projections and previous ones, compare the CBO's economic forecast with those of other forecasters, and show the budgetary impact of some alternative policy assumptions.

Budgetary and Economic Policy Issues

The CBO also analyzes specific program and policy issues that affect the Federal budget and the economy. Generally, requests for these analyses come from the chair or ranking minority member of a committee or subcommittee or from the leadership of either party in the House or Senate.

Cost Estimates for Bills

The CBO provides cost estimates of every bill to show how it would affect spending or revenues over the next 5 or 10 years, depending on the type of spending involved. The CBO also provides informal estimates at the committee level and other stages in the legislative process.

Federal Mandates

As required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, the CBO analyzes the costs that proposed legislation would impose on State, local, and tribal governments and on the private sector. The CBO produces mandate statements with its cost estimates for each committee-approved bill.


The CBO provides the budget and appropriations committees with frequent tabulations of congressional action affecting spending and revenues. Those scorekeeping reports provide information on whether legislative actions are consistent with the spending and revenue levels set by the budget resolution.

Sources of Information


The CBO maintains an active blog.

Business Opportunities

The CBO posts answers to questions that vendors frequently ask. | Email:

Career Opportunities

CBO employees and interns analyze public policies and their budgetary and economic effects, work with policy analysis experts, support the Congress, and provide nonpartisan and objective analysis. To carry out these activities, the agency relies on professionals with superior academic backgrounds and experience in defense, environmental and resource, financial, health, and labor economics; industrial organization; macroeconomics; public finance; and public-policy analysis. | Email:

According to the Partnership for Public Service, the CBO is an outstanding place to work in the Federal Government. Among 29 small agencies, it placed 3d in the 2018 Best Places To Work rankings.


In "Expected Costs of Damage From Hurricane Winds and Storm-Related Flooding" (April 2019), the CBO reports: "Without limits on emissions, the rise in sea levels is predicted to accelerate in the second half of this century . . . . Those increases, along with other changes caused by warming (such as increases in droughts and the spread of certain invasive species), will adversely affect economic output in the future and have other negative effects that are not captured by change in GDP (such as decreases in biodiversity)."

Contact Information

The nature of the inquiry determines the best way to contact the agency. The "Contact Information" page has specific contact information for Members of Congress and congressional staff, members of the public, representatives of the media, job candidates, vendors and contractors, and for those wanting to leave a comment about the CBO website.

Cost Estimates

The Congress relies on CBO cost estimates for implementing budget enforcement rules and procedures.

Defense Budget

The CBO analyzes the possible consequences of planned reductions in funding for the military's force structure and acquisitions. It also studies the budgetary implications of Department of Defense plans, including military personnel, weapon systems, and operations plans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The CBO posts answers to the most common questions that people ask.


The glossary is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). It defines terms that are commonly used in CBO reports. Many of the entries conform to those published in "A Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process" (Government Accountability Office, 2005).


The CBO was birthed in the crucible of conflict: President Richard M. Nixon had threatened to withhold congressional appropriations for programs whose activities diverged from his policies. Members of Congress responded by enacting the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. This law reasserted Congress's constitutional control over the budget and created new legislative institutions for implementing the new budget process. One of these institutions was a new legislative-branch agency. To learn more, visit the CBO "History" web page.

Information Products

CBO informational, nonpartisan products include baseline projections for selected programs, budget and economic data, and major recurring reports.

Interactive Tools / Workbooks

The "Interactives" web page allows visitors to simulate a variety of budget-relevant scenarios and explore their potential costs. For example, the "Force Structure Tool" determines the costs and capabilities of customized plans for the Armed Forces.

Nuclear Forces Costs

The CBO projects the 10-year costs of nuclear forces every 2 years. The report of January 2019 contains projections for the period from 2019 to 2028.

Organizational Chart

The CBO posts its organizational chart in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.

Press Center

The most recent CBO news is available online. Each Thursday, the agency posts a list of key publications that are likely to be released during the coming week or soon thereafter.

Social Media

The CBO has a SlideShare account.

The CBO tweets announcements and other newsworthy items on Twitter.

The CBO posts videos on its YouTube channel.

Ten Things To Know

The CBO has posted the 10 most important things that it wants people to know about the agency.


The Topics web page allows visitors to browse subjects ranging from agriculture to veterans' issues.


By prioritizing its commitment to transparency, the CBO seeks to promote better understanding of its work, to help people gauge the potential change in estimates when policies or circumstances differ, and to enhance the credibility of its analyses and processes.

Visiting Scholars

The CBO welcomes applications from analysts and scholars in all fields; however, it has a special interest in collaborating with experts in macroeconomics and financial, health, and public economics. | Email:

The Sources of Information were updated 7–2019.