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The Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Budget

One of the key players in the advisement and development of the federal budget is the Congressional Budget Office. Located on the fourth floor of the Ford House Office Building in Washington, D.C., the CBO was created with the enactment of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act in 1974. The agency began operations the following year.

According to the “Who We Are��? section of the Congressional Budget Office website:

CBO produces policy analyses, cost estimates of legislation, and budget and economic projections that serve as a basis for the Congress's decisions about spending and taxes. Every piece of legislation affecting the use of the nation's resources undergoes CBO's scrutiny. The agency is a public-sector think tank that employs an elite, multidisciplinary staff of professional analysts--public-policy and budget experts, economists, and other critical thinkers who enjoy challenges--at levels ranging from undergraduate and graduate interns to researchers with doctorates and substantial experience.

While they may seem similar at a glance, the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office are not one in the same. The CBO assists the House and Senate Budget Committees with the creation of the budget by preparing reports and analyses as an enforceable blueprint for Congressional action on spending and revenue legislation, whereas the GAO supports Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

One interesting feature of the Congressional Budget Office website is that the current Director of the CBO, Douglas W. Elmendorf, maintains a blog covering pertinent topics and issues. His recent post, titled “Health Care Reform and the Federal Budget��? provides a unique perspective on the debate of health care reform and how the Congressional Budget Office factors into the discussion. The CBO also has a Panel of Health Advisers, which consists of experts in health care. This Panel of Health Advisers examines current research in health policy and advises the CBO on its analysis of health care issues.

There are several resources available in the Dewey Graduate Library on the topic of Congressional budgeting:

Schick, Allen. (2007) The Federal Budget: politics, policy, process. Washington, D.C. Brookings Institution Press.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 S3424 2007

Fisher, Patrick. (2005) Congressional budgeting : a representational perspective. Lanham, Md. University Press of America.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 F484 2005

Le Loup, Lance T. (2005) Parties, rules, and the evolution of congressional budgeting. Columbus, OH : The Ohio State University Press.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 L45 2005

If you have any questions about researching the Congressional Budget Office, the federal budget process, or any related topic, please contact our Bibliographer for Political Science, Public Administration & Policy, and Law, Richard Irving. He can be reached by calling 442-3698 or by email at: rirving@uamail.albany.edu.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina