Testimony on CBO's Appropriation Request for Fiscal Year 2013

Report
February 7, 2012

Testimony before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives

Thank you for the opportunity to present the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO's) budget request for fiscal year 2013. CBO's mission is to provide the Congress with objective, impartial, and nonpartisan analyses of budget and economic issues, including the information and cost estimates needed for the Congressional budget process. In fulfilling that mission, CBO depends on a highly skilled workforce. About 92 percent of CBO's budget represents compensation for the agency’s staff; another 5 percent is for information technology (IT) equipment and services; and the remainder is for data, training, office supplies, and other items. As a result, the contours of CBO's budget and the staffing levels of the agency have been and will continue to be closely linked.

CBO's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 is $44.6 million. In light of the budget constraints facing the federal government, this request represents an increase of only 1.9 percent ($850,000) from the $43.8 million provided to CBO in fiscal year 2012 and an increase of only 1.2 percent ($555,000) from the regular appropriation of $44.1 million provided to CBO in fiscal year 2009.

Operating the agency in fiscal year 2013 with only slightly more funding than was provided for this fiscal year and little more than was obligated four years earlier would be possible only through a further reduction in the number of CBO analysts; minimal increases in salaries; and sharp cutbacks in spending on IT, data, training, and other items. Although CBO will continue to make every effort to serve the Congress as effectively as possible, the changes that would be required under the proposed budget would unavoidably diminish the number of estimates and analyses of budget and economic policies that CBO was able to provide.