Good news for Hill staff and Congressional spending nerds alike: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has made some significant improvements to how it publishes data.
The agency, which is responsible for advising Congress on the potential economic impact of legislation, announced several transparency-friendly changes on its site last week. Changes include:
- Predictable URLs: CBO is making it easier than ever to find the score for a specific piece of legislation. With the new predictable URL format (e.g. www.cbo.gov/cost-estimates/s/2302) just go to the page for a given bill number and there will be a list of cost estimates sorted by date. The date filter is useful because bill numbers reset each Congress; this means there are several S. 123’s or H.R. 123’s to choose from. While we would encourage CBO to include the Congress number as part of the URL, e.g. www.cbo.gov/cost_estimates/116th/s/2302, this is a useful step forward.
- Bill Scores Include Underlying Legislative Information; the landing page for the score now links directly to the proper Congress.gov page.
- Cost Estimates in XML are now available going back to the 105th Congress. This makes it easier to use information in automated way.
- New Search Filters have been added to the website’s search page. You can now filter by 10-year totals, revenue, and deficit spending.
Civil society requested some of these changes earlier this year and we are thrilled to see CBO putting commitment to transparency into action.
- CBO’s Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Forms (2019-10-28)
- Letter to CBO Director Dr. Phillip Swagel (2019-07-10)
— Written by Amelia Strauss