WASHINGTON Nov 1 A U.S. government agency has
withdrawn a report that challenged Republican ideas about taxes
and economic growth - an action that drew fire from Democrats
who accused it on Thursday of bowing to political pressure.
Republican lawmakers blasted the Congressional Research
Service (CRS) report when it was issued in September and then
went to the agency to complain. The report suggested that lower
tax rates on the wealthy are not linked to economic growth, an
item of faith among many conservatives.
The CRS, a non-partisan arm of the Library of Congress,
withdrew the report in an unusual move late last month, the
agency confirmed on Thursday.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell and others in his
party had protested the report's methods and called its tone
partisan. A top official at CRS made the decision to pull back
the report, according to a CRS employee who spoke on condition
"As we would with any CRS analysis we felt fell short of
their standards, our staff shared a litany of concerns with CRS
over the methodology, the analysis and the conclusions," said
Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch,
the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
Representative Sandy Levin, the top Democrat on the
tax-writing House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee,
called for a probe of the circumstances that led to the
withdrawal of the report, which was written by economist Thomas
"I was deeply disturbed to hear that Mr. Hungerford's report
was taken down in response to political pressure from
Congressional Republicans who had ideological objections to the
report's factual findings and conclusion," Levin said in a
letter to CRS.
News of the report's withdrawal was first published by the
New York Times.
A spokeswoman for CRS would not confirm what led the agency
to put the report, as she put it, on "non-distributable status."
CRS is one of the alphabet soup of government agencies that
conduct research for members of Congress. CRS generates its own
research topics as well.
These tax analyses have taken on more importance during a
presidential campaign in which President Barack Obama and
Republican challenger Mitt Romney have argued over their tax
plans. The election is Tuesday.
Alan Viard, an economist at the conservative American
Enterprise Institute think tank, said the report's methods were
questionable and incomplete. He said CRS had strayed from its
non-partisan mission, contrasting it with the Congressional
"The CBO does such a fantastic job and will draw conclusions
no matter whose feathers get ruffled," Viard said.
"Unfortunately CRS has not consistently lived up to the high
standards set by CBO."