The Congressional Budget Office requests appropriations of $61 million for fiscal year 2022. Of that amount, 91 percent would be for pay and benefits; 6 percent would be for information technology (IT), including purchases of commercial data; and 3 percent would be for training, expert consultants, office supplies, and other items. The requested amount represents an increase of $3.7 million, or 6.4 percent, from the $57.3 million provided to CBO for 2021.
That increase has four components:
$1.3 million to cover increases in current employees’ salary and benefits;
$1.4 million to fully fund seven new staff members hired in 2021 and to fund the early replacement of staff members who plan to depart in 2022 (nine full-time-equivalent positions, or FTEs);
$0.6 million to fund IT enhancements to increase security and to help a workforce divided between CBO’s offices and remote locations work efficiently; and
$0.4 million to pay for four new staff members (two FTEs) who would provide the Congress with more analysis of infrastructure, energy, and climate-change issues. (Those employees would be hired partway through the year, so the amount requested is half the cost of employing them for a full year.)
That increase in staff would allow CBO to become even more responsive to the Congress’s need for analysis. During the past year, CBO’s current staffing level has helped it respond to many unusual challenges posed by the 2020–2021 coronavirus pandemic. Those responses have included providing timely technical assistance with substantial pandemic-related legislation; publishing economic and budget projections soon after the pandemic began to support the Congress as it was considering that legislation; and providing the Congress with reports and analyses on a wide range of topics while moving entirely to a remote work environment. Because so much of CBO’s budget is devoted to personnel costs, if actual funding proves markedly less than the proposed amount, CBO will have to shrink its staff, affecting its ability to be transparent and responsive.