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ASERL Center of Excellence: Congressional Budget Office

This guide provides information about the Congressional Budget Office documents we collect as part of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries' Center of Excellence program.

About the Congressional Budget Office

With the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the President of the United States was charged with the responsibility to set the federal budget by submitted a comprehensive annual proposed budget to Congress. The act also established the Bureau of the Budget (later the Office of Management and Budget, 1971). During this time, Congress “lacked institutional capacity to establish and enforce budgetary priorities, coordinate actions on spending and revenue legislation, or develop budgetary and economic information independently of the executive branch” (About CBO). This led to conflict between the two branches of government.

In 1974, this conflict resulted in the enactment of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, after a dispute between Congress and President Nixon due to threats to withhold appropriations with programs out of alignment with his policies (impoundment). This act gave Congress constitutional control over the budget by “establishing new procedures for controlling impoundments and by instituting a formal process through which Congress could develop, coordinate, and enforce its own budgetary priorities independently of the President” (About CBO). This act created the House and the Senate Budget Committees and the Congressional Budget Office to provide those committees and Congress with impartial information about budgetary and economic issues. The CBO officially began operating on February 24, 1974.

More about CBO

Additional information on the formation of the Congressional Budget Office and the legislation behind the framework of the modern federal budget and the process to combat impoundment.