This page covers recurring reports that CBO has published since 2000. Some of the reports listed here have been published since the 1970s; those earlier reports are all available on CBO's website but are not shown here.
CBO regularly publishes projections of economic and budget outcomes which incorporate the assumption that current law regarding federal spending and revenues generally remains in place. Those baseline projections cover the 10-year period used in the Congressional budget process. Most of the reports on those projections also describe the differences between the current projections and previous ones; compare the economic forecast with those of other forecasters; and show the budgetary impact of some alternative policy assumptions. The budget projections and economic forecast are generally issued each January and updated in August; the budget projections are also generally updated each March.
CBO estimates the budgetary impact of the proposals in the President’s budget using the agency's own economic forecast and estimating assumptions. CBO’s independent "reestimate" of the President’s budget allows the Congress to compare the Administration's spending and revenue proposals with CBO’s baseline spending and revenue projections and with other proposals using a consistent set of economic and technical assumptions. CBO also usually analyzes the economic impact of the President’s budget (and the feedback effect of those economic changes on the budget)—recently in a separate report, but previously in the same report.
Periodically, CBO produces reference volumes examining options for reducing budget deficits. The volumes include a wide range of options, derived from many sources, for reducing spending and increasing revenues. (Occasionally, the volumes focus on specific areas of the budget, as do many of CBO’s other reports.) For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget and a discussion of its pros and cons but makes no recommendations.
CBO provides the Congress with budget projections beyond the standard 10-year budget window. Those projections, which focus primarily on the coming 25 years, show the effects of demographic trends, economic developments, and rising health care costs on federal spending, revenues, and deficits. The assumptions about federal spending and revenue policies used for the long-term budget projections match those underlying the agency’s 10-year baseline for the first decade and are extended in a similar way to later years. The report also shows the long-term budgetary and economic effects of some alternative policies.
CBO publishes long-term projections for Social Security in the Long-Term Budget Outlook and then provides additional information on those projections in subsequent, separate reports.
In most years, the Department of Defense (DoD) provides a five-year plan, called the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), associated with the budget that it submits to the Congress. Because decisions made in the near term can have consequences for the defense budget well beyond that period, CBO regularly examines DoD’s FYDP and projects its budgetary impact roughly a decade beyond the period covered by the FYDP.
At the direction of the Congress, the Department of Defense generally issues annual reports that describe its plan for building new ships over the next 30 years. CBO examines these plans in detail and estimates the costs of proposed ship purchases using its own estimating methods and assumptions. CBO also analyzes how those ship purchases would affect the Navy’s inventories of various types of ships over the next three decades.
At the direction of the Congress, CBO projects the 10-year costs of the Administration’s plans for operating, maintaining, and modernizing nuclear weapons and the military systems capable of delivering those weapons. The reports are biannual, with occasional interim updates as necessary.
For households with different levels of income and in various demographic groups, CBO reports estimates of average federal tax rates (federal taxes divided by income), shares of total federal taxes paid, and related measures.
CBO periodically evaluates the quality of its economic forecasts by comparing them with the economy’s actual performance and with forecasts by the Administration and the Blue Chip consensus—an average of about 50 private-sector forecasts. Such comparisons help to show the extent to which various factors have caused CBO to miss patterns and turning points in the economy.
CBO each year produces projections of the federal receipts and expenditures in the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which are produced by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The federal government sometimes imposes requirements—known as mandates—on state, local, and tribal governments and entities in the private sector in order to achieve national goals. In 1995, lawmakers enacted the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) in part to ensure that the Congress receives information about the potential effects of mandates as it considers proposed legislation. To that end, UMRA requires CBO, at certain points in the legislative process, to assess the cost of mandates that would apply to state, local, and tribal governments and to the private sector. From 1997 through 2015, CBO prepared annual reviews of its activities under UMRA and produced reports summarizing those activities. The last report, which covered activities in calendar year 2014, was published in March 2015. In 2016, CBO transitioned to an online version of the review. The online version includes information about mandates in legislation and in public laws beginning with 2013, and it is updated periodically throughout the year.
Each month, CBO issues an analysis of federal spending and revenues for the previous month and the fiscal year to date. Those Monthly Budget Reviews, which are based on information from the Treasury Department, provide information on the monthly status of outlays, receipts, and the deficit or surplus.
CBO regularly prepares reports listing all programs and activities funded for the current fiscal year for which authorizations of appropriations have expired or will expire during the current fiscal year. CBO publishes three versions of the report each year with the items sorted in different ways to be more useful to different committees.
The Congress established the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008 to stabilize financial markets. CBO regularly provides its estimate of the costs of the program and a comparison of that estimate to the preceding estimate from the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) requires CBO to comment on reports filed by recipients of ARRA funding about the number of jobs funded by ARRA. CBO’s reports provide the agency’s own estimates of the effects of ARRA on total output and jobs.
CBO is required to publish estimates of the caps on funding for discretionary programs for each fiscal year through 2021 and to report whether, according to those estimates, a sequestration (a cancellation of budgetary resources) would be required. However, the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget ultimately makes the determination of whether a sequestration is required based on its own estimates.
CBO periodically provides information on spending by federal, state, and local governments for transportation and water infrastructure. In addition to presenting data on outlays for various types of infrastructure, the reports also examine such spending in terms of two broad categories—spending for capital and spending for operation and maintenance.