Washington (CNN) - Only three in ten Americans say they want Congress to pass legislation similar to the health care reform bills that have already been approved by the House and Senate, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that nearly half the public, 48 percent, would like federal lawmakers to start work on an entirely new bill, and 21 percent feel Congress should stop working an any bills that would change the country's health care system.
The survey's Tuesday release comes one week after Republican Scott Brown's victory in a special senate election in Massachusetts. The GOP win means once Brown is sworn in as a senator, the Democrats will lose their 60-seat supermajority in the chamber, making their chances of passing the current health care reform legislation extremely difficult.
"Opposition to health care legislation is highest among senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Twenty-nine percent of people over 65 want Congress to stop working on health care completely, compared to 20 percent of people under the age of 50."
TOPICS: Health care
Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden told Democratic insiders Tuesday that the loss of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat last week stung but was not a fatal political blow. Biden also downplayed the notion that President Obama ever had a reliable 60 vote super majority in the Senate.
"The reports of our demise are premature," Biden said at a Democratic National Committee meeting, according to the pool report. "It's time everybody take a deep breath. Take a deep breath. Let's put this in perspective. Yeah, we took a hit and the frustration was aggravated by the fact that Teddy's seat was lost.
"That makes it sound more profound than it is. Yes it's had a practical impact, but I'm not so sure what a blessing 60 votes was. When we had 60 votes there was the expectation left, right, and center that we could do everything we wanted to do, which was never realistic. Never."
Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department has ended its long-running investigation into the finances of veteran Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, without filing criminal charges.
"We have closed the investigation," said spokesman Ben Friedman of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, which had been probing Mollohan's financial affairs. Friedman declined to comment further on the investigation, which ran nearly four years.
(CNN) - In the wake of the surprising Massachusetts special election result last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is urging the party's 2010 candidates to define their Republican opponents early.
"Given the pressure Republican candidates feel from the extreme right in their party, there is a critical - yet time-sensitive –opportunity for Democratic candidates," a DSCC memo, obtained by CNN, states. "We have a finite window when Republicans candidates will feel susceptible to the extremists in their party. Given the urgent nature of this dynamic, we suggest an aggressive effort to get your opponents on the record."
Specifically, the DSCC wants Democratic candidates to pin down their likely opponents on several hot-button issues, including:
– Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S.citizen?
– Do you think the Tenth Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum healthcare coverage standards?
– Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism, and should never have been created in the first place?
– Do you think President Obama is a socialist?
– Do you think America should return to a gold standard?
- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's State of the Union speech on Wednesday will be a tough sell for millions of Americans struggling under the weight of an economic recession, political analysts said.
"The president will respond as he always does to emergencies: with a speech. In this case, it's his State of the Union address," said David Frum, a CNN contributor and former speechwriter to President George W. Bush. "The Obama team always assumes the best remedy for any Obama difficulty is more Obama."
Frum said Obama's new populist tone, which he said emerged after the Democrats' surprising loss in the Massachusetts special Senate election - might work short-term if he uses it in Wednesday's speech, but it won't work over the long haul.
"If so, it would be a big mistake. It may win the president an immediate bounce in the polls by exciting downcast liberals and progressives," Frum said in a CNN.com commentary. "But that bounce will prove limited and short-lived, and it will come at the expense of more trouble not very far down the road."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The Congressional Budget Office hiked its forecast Tuesday for how much the stimulus bill will add to the nation's deficit, raising its estimate by $75 billion to $862 billion.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February 2009, was initially believed to have a price tag of $787 billion. With the glaring exception of skyrocketing unemployment compensation costs, the CBO said the Recovery Act's effects on government spending and revenues have closely followed its initial estimate for 2009 and 2010.
The vast majority of the increased deficit impact is linked to anticipated spending in 2011 to 2019. It now appears to the Budget Office that stimulus will have a larger impact on the deficit in the years to come based on changing economic factors since the bill was signed into law 11 months ago.
(CNN) - President Obama's proposed spending freeze could help him recapture the favor of centrist voters, but critics blast the move as nothing more than political posturing.
The president is expected to call for a partial, three-year freeze on discretionary spending in his State of the Union address Wednesday, according to two senior administration officials. The cuts, which Obama will say would save $250 billion, would not apply to national security spending and would not affect major entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
The proposal comes as the president's poll numbers dip and concerns about the economy and the federal deficit flare.
It also comes after a shocking election loss for Democrats in Massachusetts, which many have interpreted as an expression of voter frustration with the way Washington is handling the economy.
Washington (CNN) - One day before President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union address, a new national poll indicates that Americans are divided on job he's doing in office.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 49 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing in the White House, with 50 percent disapproving of how he's handling his duties.
Fifty-five percent of people questioned say the don't think Obama has paid enough attention to the most important problems, with 45 percent saying he has the right priorities. And six in ten feel the president has paid more attention to financial institutions rather than the problems faced by middle class Americans, with 28 percent disagreeing.
But 63 percent say Obama's sincere and six in ten feel he's a strong leader. Fifty-nine percent of people questioned say the president is honest and trustworthy, 57 percent feel he inspires confidence, and 56 percent say Obama's in touch with Americans.
"Most Americans have a positive view of Barack Obama's personal characteristics, but they don't feel the same way about his positions on the issues or his track record in office," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Independents think Obama is a strong leader and they see him as honest, but only 42 percent of them say they agree with Obama on the issues."