February 25th, 2010
12:13 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Majority oppose reconciliation

Washington (CNN) - A new poll suggests that a majority of Americans would oppose a move by Senate Democrats to use a parliamentary procedure called 'reconciliation' to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass their health care reform legislation by a simple majority vote.

A Gallup survey released Thursday morning indicates that 52 percent of the public opposes using reconciliation, with 39 percent favoring the move, and 9 percent unsure.

At Thursday's health care summit, in his opening remarks, Republican spokesman Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee urged the Democrats not to use reconciliation to ram the measure through Congress.

Alexander asked President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders to "renounce this idea of going back to Congress, and jamming through a partisan vote through a little used process we call reconciliation your version of the bill. You can say that this process has been used before, and that would be right. But it's never been used for anything like this. It's not appropriate to use (reconciliation) to write the rules for 17 percent of the economy."

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, admitted that Democrats did talk Wednesday morning about using "reconciliation" to move health care legislation.

Senate Majority Harry Reid also defended the tactic at Thursday's summit.

"Since 1981, reconciliation has been used 21 times and most of it has been used by Republicans, for major things like much of the Contract for America, medicare reform, the tax cuts for rich people in America. So reconciliation is not something that's never been done before," Reid said.

Reconciliation is a process, limited to budget-related bills, that bypasses the Senate rule on 60 votes being needed to end debate, known as cloture. By using reconciliation, only a majority vote would be needed to advance a bill. There are currently 57 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party in the Senate. Republican Scott Brown's victory in last month's special senate election in Massachusetts gave his party 41 votes in the chamber.

The Gallup poll was conducted Tuesday, with 1,009 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Who did you ask? When one party is being a butt and doesn't want to do anything, it is necessary!!

    February 25, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. silence dogoode

    Ok Reid: are you really saying that it is OK for you to use a tactic that I am sure you slamed the republicans for just because they used it against you? How about you look back at the Presidencies of Taft and Cooledge? SHUT UP and quit spending our $$$$.

    February 25, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    When has popular opinion ever stopped Obama, the Dems or the Repubs? To save his failing presidency, if Obama could figure out a way to look good, it wouldn't matter what anyone thinks.

    And just to save the whiners the trouble: "I know a guy with a cell phone and they never called me and I just love Obama so therefore the poll must be wrong. "

    February 25, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. donttreadonme

    "Tax cuts for rich people?" CNN when are you going to fact check this lie by Harry Reid and the dems? I know most of the dems in this country are supposed to be poor and stupid but I am sure you realize that the tax cuts were accross the board for all people not just the high earners. Why should people pay 40% of their incomes to the Federal Government just becuase they make more money?

    February 25, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. hooverguide

    Why in the world is anyone asking our opinion? It didn't count when they voted on the bank bailout and it won't matter now. We, the people, are simply left out of the equation once an individual is elected.

    February 25, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "It will cost a $TRILLION per year!!"

    Prime example of why most educated Americans think the Teatards and their ultra-conservative McCarthyist ilk are freekin CLOWNS.

    PS: If you don't know what's wrong with the quoted statement, put your clown shoes back on, get back in the clown car and park it on an Amtrak line.

    February 25, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Milligee

    How does CNN decide who gets polled? What is the criteria - business owner, university degree? Why does not CNN let us know if reconciliation has been used in the past and the circumstances? I consider my self as being politically center but please point out the hypocrisy here. We are all entitled to our own opinion, but please, please, please, let us have some truth!

    February 25, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Liz

    another case of 'do as i say, not as i do' from republican hypocrites. republicans used reconciliation to pass bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, which are responsible for a big chunk of our budget deficite. Use it! when the american people see how much it improves their situation, they'll forgive you.

    February 25, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    You say that a majority of Americans oppose reconcilliation?
    H-word, a majority of us oppose this health-care bill!
    That's what matters, but President Obama doesn't care, as long as he can believe that he's leading us out of capitalistic captivity into the Promised Land of Marxist Utopia.

    February 25, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. p

    The party of NO wants a guarantee of NO reconciliation?
    Fine.
    Let them guarantee not to filibuster.
    The Republicans with their phony less government BS.
    When they're in power, they make huge intrusive government.
    When they're out of power, they spend all their energy trying to destroy the opposition president.
    What about doing something for American citizens?

    February 25, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. ChicagoDB

    I have to ask why? The republitards have used reconcilliation many times before (a couple of massive tax cuts for the wealthy comes to mind). Maybe it's because those lying scum bags have tied the "nuclear" option (which they created) to reconcilliation. These are two different things, but "nuclear" sounds scary and radical to the majority of brain dead americans.

    February 25, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Rush is to far left

    Pelosi says there is no time to start over,,,,,hmmmmm, that is odd considering the "reform" they are wanting to shove down our throats will not go into effect for 2 years anyway? From what I've heard so far, Obama is using the show as a way to try and publicly humiliate the republicans. What do we expect from racist, socialist, marxist leaning, black people that just want to take from the people that work hard and give to the lazy people that don't work at all.

    February 25, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Marie

    Silly CNN. Don't you know by now that Congress couldn't care less about what the voters think? Try reading your own news reports and it should be strikingly clear

    February 25, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Oregon calling

    So reconciliation is only "good" when the Republicans are the ones supporting it?!?! When will the doublbe standards end?

    Peace :-)

    February 25, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. jane

    I think the Democrats, who were elected by a majority, should use whatever powers they have to pass substantive health care/insurance reform, leaving the Republicans behind if necessary.

    February 25, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. JC from Kansas-40 years a Republican -so sorry

    I truely doubt if most Americas even understand what reconciliation even is, other than something those nasty Democrates are threatening to do to usurp the will of the American people. In other words a way to get around the road blocks being placed by the Republicans on measures that by themselves a majority of the Republicans have already supported at one time or another.

    February 25, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Sarah

    I noticed Sen. Alexander did not mention that republicans have used reconciliation the most of the 21 times it has been used. I am for reconciliation because there is no way the Republicans are ever going to compromise on healthcare reform. They have not in 40 years and they won't now. Their good buddies and campaign donors would be upset with them. Go for it, President Obama, do what needs to be done for the people of America whether the Republicans agree or they don't agree. They have had their way and Americans have suffered for too long.

    February 25, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Of the 22 time it has been used since 1980, 16 were by repubs.

    February 25, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. marlene

    The Republicans are opposed to reconcilliation now, but Republicans have used the procedure successfully in the past to pass bills the party wanted done. Hypocracy is a fine example. Do as we say, not as we do. Marlene in Mich

    February 25, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Micah

    They are the majority, they believe in the bill, they should use whatever means necessary to pass it. The fact that Gallup found 520 people who disagree with reconciliation (did they ask them if they understood what it is first???) means nothing.

    February 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Tom in Delaware

    Not to mention the Dems have neither the guts nor the votes to pass it anyway....time to start over.

    February 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Enough

    Come on CNN pull up the 2005 videos of Obama, Clinton and company on this very subject!! what a bunch of hypocrites Democrats are.

    February 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. j

    Reconciliation was used effectively by the Republicans 16 times during the Bush Administration. I see no reason why the Democrats shouldn't use it to break the obstructionism by the Conservatives.

    The filibuster rules should be changed so that the person has to physically stand up – that's the way it was intended and that's the way it should be done.

    February 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Michael

    I oppose the rates of the healthcare insurance companies. However they do not care. so I think that the president should do whatever possible to get Healthcare reform done and on the way. Specially restrict the lawsuits and the rate-increases.

    February 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. a health economist

    Forget reconsilliation. MAKE THEM FILLABUSTER! I'd love to see some of those old Senators stand up and talk for as long as they can until they faint from exhaustion. Then they can be rushed to the hospital and have their care covered by their government run health insurance which all government employees have.

    February 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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