Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Fischer, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Congressional Budget Office’s budget request. CBO requests appropriations of $70.8 million for fiscal year 2024: 89 percent would be for pay and benefits; 8 percent would be for information technology, including tools to improve cybersecurity; and 3 percent would be for services for expert consul- tants, training, office supplies, and other items. The request amounts to an overall increase of $7.5 million, or 12 percent, from the $63.2 million that CBO received for 2023. The unusually large increase would allow the agency to increase the number of employees and cover the expenses for goods and services that were deferred in 2023, when CBO’s appropriation was $1.4 million less than the agency requested.
The requested budget is based on strong interest in CBO’s work from Congressional leadership, commit- tees, and Members. In 2022, the need to assess large and complex legislation—including the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023; the 2022 reconciliation act (P.L. 117-169); the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022; and the CHIPS Act of 2022—strained the agency’s resources in many areas. In the future, providing esti- mates and assistance to the Congress as it considers significant legislative initiatives, as well as proposals to address the nation’s fiscal challenges, is likely to require additional resources.
In 2024, CBO will ensure, as it has throughout its history, that its work is objective and insightful. The agency will continue its practice of making no policy recommendations and carrying out its mission with integrity. The budgetary increase that CBO is requesting would strengthen the agency’s ability to be even more responsive to Congressional needs by fully funding the staffing increase that is underway this year, by restoring the summer intern program, and by funding 11 new staff members in 2024:
7 staff members to conduct more analysis in the areas of climate change and infrastructure, defense and homeland security, income security, and immigration, as well as long-term projections;
2 staff members to support more senior analysts when demand surges for analysis of a particular topic or when additional assistance is needed for a complicated estimate; and
2 staff members to assist CBO’s efforts in human resources and other operations.
The requested increase is larger than usual for a few reasons:
The proposed budget would provide for a staffing increase to enable CBO to better respond to requests for support and analysis from committees and Members, as noted above.
The high rate of inflation boosted CBO’s personnel costs for 2023. As a result, and because the 2023 appropriation was constraining, the agency has had to cut back on purchases of certain services and equipment. Information technology, which includes both equipment and cloud services, is a key element in the agency’s ability to carry out its work. The requested 2024 budget would enable CBO to catch up on deferred purchases on information technology.
The higher costs for current personnel will carry over into 2024, and a further cost-of-living adjustment is planned for 2024. Attracting and retaining the expert staff that CBO needs to accomplish its mission requires the agency to offer competitive salaries.