Levin Requests Explanation on Pulled CRS Report

Nov 2, 2012


Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today sent a letter to Congressional Research Service Director Mary B. Mazanec requesting information about what led CRS to withdraw a September report that found no correlation between tax cuts and economic growth. According to a New York Times report, and confirmed by the office of Ranking Member Levin, Senate Republicans complained directly to CRS about the report, which was subsequently pulled from its Web site. The report’s findings undermined the age-old Republican argument – pushed again this year as part of the GOP’s tax plan – that tax cuts will pay for themselves through economic growth. A copy of the letter is here, and below:

November 1, 2012

Mary B. Mazanec, Director

Congressional Research Service
The Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20540-7210

Dear Director Mazanec:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the decision of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to remove from its website a report entitled, “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945,” by Thomas Hungerford. 

The impartial research and advice provided by CRS experts informs and strengthens the work of Congress.  However, this valuable role hinges on the impartiality of CRS analysts and their freedom from political pressure.  As with other non-partisan institutions, subjecting CRS analysts to political considerations undermines the legislative process and the American people’s trust in it.

Therefore 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.  It would be completely inappropriate for CRS to censor one of its analysts simply because participants in the political process found his or her conclusion in conflict with their partisan position.

I would like your explanation as to why this report was removed from the CRS website, who made that decision and what considerations led to it.  Furthermore, I would like to know what steps you intend to take going forward to insure that CRS analysts are able to provide their expert advice to Congress free of political pressure. 



Sander Levin
Ranking Member
Committee on Ways and Means