The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a nonpartisan agency that provides objective economic and budgetary analysis to support Congress in its legislative and budgetary decisions.
Its primary purposes include:
- Cost Estimates:
- The CBO prepares cost estimates for proposed legislation, analyzing the potential budgetary impact of bills and their effects on spending, revenues, and deficits.
- These estimates help Congress understand the financial implications of proposed policies before making decisions.
- Baseline Budget Projections:
- The CBO provides baseline budget projections, offering a framework for evaluating the implications of policy changes on federal spending, revenues, and deficits over the long term.
Economic and Policy Analysis:
- Economic Projections:
- The CBO conducts economic analysis and provides economic forecasts, including projections on economic growth, inflation, and employment trends.
- These projections assist policymakers in understanding the broader economic context when crafting legislation.
- Policy Options and Alternatives:
- The CBO evaluates various policy options and alternative approaches to address fiscal challenges, providing Congress with information on potential outcomes and trade-offs.
Support for Congressional Decision-Making:
- Informing Legislative Choices:
- By providing comprehensive analysis and information, the CBO aids Congress in making informed decisions on a wide range of issues, including taxes, healthcare, social programs, and more.
- Independent and Nonpartisan Analysis:
- The CBO maintains nonpartisan independence, offering objective analysis and assessments that are not influenced by political considerations.
- Its reports and analyses are widely respected for their credibility and impartiality.
Budget Process Support:
- Assessment of Budgetary Procedures:
- The CBO assists Congress in evaluating the potential impact of budgetary rules and procedures, ensuring compliance with budgetary constraints and guidelines.
- Budgetary Reconciliation:
- During the budget reconciliation process, the CBO evaluates proposed changes to existing laws and programs to estimate their budgetary effects.
Accountability and Transparency:
- Promoting Accountability:
- The CBO’s analysis helps hold lawmakers accountable for the fiscal implications of their policy choices by providing information on the expected costs and effects of legislation.
- Public Disclosure:
- The CBO’s reports, cost estimates, and analyses are made public, enhancing transparency and allowing for public scrutiny of proposed legislation.
The Congressional Budget Office plays a crucial role in supporting Congress by providing impartial and detailed analysis on budgetary matters, economic forecasts, and the potential impacts of legislative proposals.
Its analyses serve as a vital resource for lawmakers as they make decisions on fiscal policy and budget matters.