CBO Launches Website Enhancements for Cost Estimates

Posted by
Phill Swagel
December 5, 2019

CBO is improving the section of our website that contains cost estimates as part of a continuing effort to increase transparency.

Find Cost Estimates More Quickly
We’ve developed a predictable URL format so that users won’t need to navigate throughout the site, use our search tool, or use an external search engine to find an estimate. For example, if you go to www.cbo.gov/cost-estimates/s/2302, you’ll find a list of cost estimates for S. 2302, sorted by date. (More than one estimate appears in the list because legislation from several Congressional sessions had that bill number.) A box on the left side of that page shows other examples.

New Search Filters
Starting with estimates from the 116th Congress, you can filter your search by 10-year totals for direct spending, revenues, and deficits. You can still search by bill number and keywords.

Legislative Information and Spreadsheets
We now post a link to each bill’s legislative information, including the bill’s text, at Congress.gov. And tables published in many cost estimates are now posted as spreadsheets. To see examples, look below the summary section for S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. (Also, early this year, we introduced a new layout for the PDF version of cost estimates that highlights the key takeaways at the top of the document.)

Basic information about each cost estimate dating back to the 105th Congress is now available in XML format. Extensible Markup Language provides a standard method to access information, making it easier for applications and devices to use, store, transmit, and display data.

I would like to recognize Annette Kalicki, web designer in the Office of Communications, and Kathleen FitzGerald, special assistant in the Budget Analysis Division, for their significant contributions in developing and implementing the website’s enhancements. We at CBO are grateful as well to many outside users of our work who suggested enhancements such as these.

If you have any feedback about these changes or suggestions for others, please email us at communications@cbo.gov.

Phillip L. Swagel is CBO’s Director.