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Sources: Swagel to replace Hall as CBO director

Paul Krawzak, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

Under budget law, the CBO director is appointed by the speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate -- currently Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, respectively -- after considering recommendations from the House and Senate Budget committees. There's no need for Senate confirmation.

In practice, the decision is made by the Budget chairmen with some input from House and Senate leaders. Under an informal arrangement, the lead role in making the selection alternates between the House and Senate Budget chairs. Then-House Budget Chairman Tom Price took the lead in choosing Hall last time, sending the lead role to the Senate this time.

Hall had expressed a desire to be reappointed to the CBO director post for another term, according to a source familiar with the discussions, but Enzi ultimately opted to go in a different direction.

The Wyoming Republican valued transparency and disclosure at the CBO, something Hall actively tried to promote during his tenure at the agency. Nonetheless, over time Enzi had grown dissatisfied with the level of communication and updates he was getting from the CBO under Hall's leadership, according to the source.

While it wasn't clear Tuesday what Enzi's specific complaints were, the CBO operates under rules that require it to keep certain information confidential. That includes informal, preliminary estimates that the agency provides at the request of committee staff, allowing the consideration of different approaches before a specific legislative path is chosen.


Enzi's office did not respond to questions about Swagel. Efforts to reach Swagel on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.

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