CBO Explains the Statutory Foundations of Its Budget Baseline
CBO is required to regularly prepare a baseline consisting of projections of federal revenues, spending, deficits or surpluses, and debt under current law. This document describes the laws that govern how CBO prepares those projections.
The primary responsibility of the Congressional Budget Office is to assist the House and Senate Budget Committees. By law, CBO is required to regularly prepare a baseline consisting of projections of federal revenues, spending, deficits or surpluses, and debt. Those projections—which are described in detail in another Budget Primer, CBO Explains How It Develops the Budget Baseline—provide lawmakers with an indication of the budgetary outlook under current law and a benchmark for assessing the budgetary effects of proposed changes in policy.
The rules that govern how CBO constructs its baseline projections have evolved over time. Most of them are statutory—they are found in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, the Budget Control Act of 2011, and other laws. This document chiefly describes the parts of those laws that govern how CBO prepares its baseline projections. Other requirements are contained in budget resolutions, rules of the House and Senate, conference reports accompanying budget legislation, and the Report of the President’s Commission on Budget Concepts, which was published in 1967.