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An Introduction to the Congressional Budget Office

Lawmakers created the Congressional Budget Office to help the Congress play a stronger role in budget matters. Established under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, CBO provides objective, nonpartisan information to support the budget process and to help the Congress make effective budget and economic policy. In carrying out that mission, the agency offers an alternative to the information provided by the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies in the executive branch.

The Congress sets CBO’s priorities. The agency’s chief responsibility under the Budget Act is to help the House and Senate Budget Committees with the matters under their jurisdiction. CBO also supports other Congressional committees—particularly, Appropriations, Finance, and Ways and Means—and the Congressional leadership.

Each year, the agency’s economists and budget analysts fulfill thousands of requests for technical assistance, produce hundreds of cost estimates for proposed legislation, and prepare dozens of reports and other materials on a variety of topics. CBO conducts objective, impartial analysis and hires employees without regard to political affiliation. The agency does not make policy recommendations. Most of CBO’s work is available to the Congress and the public on the agency’s website.

Originally published at https://www.cbo.gov/publication/59687

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