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CRS Works on Its Word Choice


The normally spotlight-avoiding Congressional Research Service was back in the political news this week when it re-released a controversial study of the impact of tax cuts on economic growth.

The report, “Taxes and the Economy: An analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945,” by CRS public finance specialist Thomas Hungerford, was withdrawn in October -- an unusual move by the nonpartisan service that is part of the Library of Congress -- after Republicans objected to its conclusions and some of its tone.

On Thursday, CRS reissued the report to Congress, saying it had been “updated” to provide “more extensive documentation and explanation of the methodology underlying the economic analysis.” Many Democratic lawmakers hailed it as vindication of their current negotiating position in talks on avoiding the fiscal cliff.

“CRS is committed to producing objective analysis without advocating a particular course of action,” Janine D’Addario, a CRS spokeswoman, told Government Executive. “Word choice, appropriately qualified assertions, adequate documentation and balanced tone are all aspects of that effort. All of these elements are important.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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