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“I suggest we make an appointment with Jon, Mark and Jeff,” the high-ranking CRS employee wrote to an agency colleague regarding the Hatch and McConnell staffers. “Now they are asking for the report to come down.”
The report, first made available to Congress on Sept. 14, was taken out of circulation Sept. 28.
CRS spokeswoman Janine D’Addario said that while she could not get into specifics, the report was being reviewed for updates and the intention was to repost it on the CRS internal website at some point in the future.
However, Democrats in both chambers are continuing to monitor a situation they fear could compromise the Library of Congress-affiliated agency’s reputation as the nonpartisan research arm of Congress.
House Ways and Means ranking Democrat Sander M. Levin of Michigan has been particularly insistent in asking the CRS to respond to accusations of caving to political pressure.
CRS Director Mary B. Mazanec, in a letter she wrote to Levin on Nov. 16 that Levin spokesman Josh Drobnyk circulated on Monday, wouldn’t say whether congressional offices had asked the agency to take down the report, stressing that “confidentiality is one of our core values.”
As for whether political pressure entered into the equation, she added that the “CRS has never withdrawn a report solely at the direction of a member or staff of a congressional office. We weigh carefully comments from our clients concerning our products but the decision to revise a report or withdraw it . . . is ours alone.”
Rep. Michael M. Honda of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, is also paying attention.
In a statement, he said his panel “should look for ways to further shield . . . agencies like the CRS, [Government Accountability Office] and [Congressional Budget Office] from undue political pressure.”