Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its February 2023 budget projections for a number of Federal programs, including farm-related programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). All eyes are on the farm bill, which expires on September 30, 2023, and this latest update gives us an initial glimpse of the budget baseline that will be available to the farm bill authors this year.
CBO typically updates their budget projections early in the year, and yesterday’s release follows that pattern. Following the release of the President’s budget in February, CBO will often release a revised outlook in March. If the President’s budget is delayed, the updated outlook from CBO can stretch into late Spring or early summer – for example, in 2021, the update was released in July. Why does this matter? It is generally the update following the release of the President’s budget that is the baseline against which the cost of legislative proposals is “scored” throughout the year. In other words, while the current release will get a lot of attention, CBO may choose to update their projections again this spring; if they do, that baseline likely will be used for writing the farm bill. CBO will also typically release – at least to policymakers – their baseline projections by farm bill title. [READ MORE]