Budget director Mick Mulvaney crossed a line with his criticism of the Congressional Budget Office and its top health analyst, high-ranking Democrats said Thursday.

"OMB Director Mulvaney's comments challenging the integrity and expertise of analysts at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office are irresponsible and unacceptable," House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said in a statement issued by his office.

The Office of Management and Budget director's comments were delivered Wednesday in an interview with the Washington Examiner, during which he suggested that the budget office could not be nonpartisan in its scoring of the healthcare bill favored by the administration because the head of the healthcare analysis division previously worked in President Bill Clinton's Department of Health and Human Services.

That insinuation, Hoyer claimed, "is further indication of a bully mentality that has characterized this administration from the top down."

John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, called on Mulvaney to apologize to the CBO official, Holly Harvey.

"Director Mulvaney's comments impugning the integrity of a public servant who has dedicated her career to producing sound analysis for decision makers are unacceptable," he said. "He needs to apologize."

In Wednesday's remarks, Mulvaney criticized not just the one official, but rather the larger role of the budget office, which provides budgetary and economic analyses of legislation for Congress, as well as projections and special projects. The time of the CBO, he said, "has probably come and gone." He suggested that members of Congress or the administration might come up with different and competing estimates in weighing legislation.

Mulvaney's specific complaint related to the CBO's score of the White House-backed American Health Care Act, which found that it would result in 23 million fewer people with insurance.

Democrats turned the criticism around on Mulvaney Thursday, saying that the unfavorable results for the legislation should make the administration reconsider its ideas. They should recognize, Hoyer said, that their policies "have judged to be dangerous and change course."