Skip to content

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides nonpartisan analysis to the U.S. Congress on federal economic and budgetary matters.

History of the CBO

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was established in 1974 as part of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act was enacted in response to a dispute between Congress and President Nixon, who, in the summer of 1974, threatened to withhold congressional funding for programs he did not favor. The refusal by a president to spend funds already appropriated by Congress is called “impoundment.”

The law reestablished Congress’ authority over the federal budget, which had been weakening since the early 1920s. Part of this effort was the creation of the Congressional Budget Office, which has the primary purpose of providing analysis to Congress of how proposed legislation might impact the federal budget, versus current law. The Congressional Budget Office officially went into operation on February 24, 1975.

What Reports Does the CBO Produce?

  • Long-term Budget Projections
  • Cost Estimates
  • Baseline Budget and Economic Projections
  • Testimonies
  • Analyses of the President’s Budget
  • Analyses of Federal Mandates
  • Monthly Budget Review
  • Working Papers

During the 114th and 115th Congresses, the Congressional Budget Office, along with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), was required to provide “dynamic,” 10-year cost estimates, like those currently produced by the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth (TAG) Model and several other independent groups, like the Tax Policy Center and Penn Wharton Budget Model. This provided important context by accounting for the revenue impact of a policy’s macroeconomic and behavioral effects.

To date, Congress no longer requires the CBO to incorporate dynamic scoring into its cost estimates.

Visit the CBO website

Stay updated on the latest educational resources.

Level-up your tax knowledge with free educational resources—primers, glossary terms, videos, and more—delivered monthly.