February 25th, 2010
12:13 PM ET
13 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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice.....but quite frankly dear "majority" we don't give a good goddarn! It has become more than apparent that reconciliation is the ONLY road left to enact the agenda that our president campaigned and won on. We elected him to enact health care reform. We elected him to lower taxes for 95% of Americans. We elected him to upgrade and bring up to speed our educational system. We elected him to seek and destroy the Taliban in the RIGHT country. We elected him to clsoe Guantanamo and end illegal torturing, and prosecute the detainees as expeditiously as possible. And so on, and so on. I voted for him because I was and am convinced that he's the right man to lead us, and restore what little is left of our moral fiber, and our eroded if not non-existent respect from the rest of the world.

    So RECONCILIATION YES WE CAN!!! Enough witht he sucking up, and kowtowing to these greedy, amoral, domestic terrorists. The GOP DESTROYED our nation, it is inconceivable to me that they would be totally fine with BLOCKING IT'S REPAIR at EVERY TURN.

    February 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Jamie

    Wow, Republicans should do get their feathers in huff when progress is actually made. If 'reconciliation' is that bad, why is it apart of our legislative process? Hmmm...

    February 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Anthony

    So the PUBLIC bashes the Democrats for not getting anything done (while Republicans continually say NO) and now this same PUBLIC isnt in favor of the Dems trying to finally push something through legislature(that would BENEFIT them)???

    Silly Americans, dont know what they want or how to think for themselves....

    February 25, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. phoenix86

    Wake up America. Obama, Pelosi and Reid DO NOT CARE what you want or don't want.

    February 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Lynn

    Once again, as so many times previously, I am a senior citizen American and am angered by the politicians who claim "the American people" say this or that. I've never been polled so don't say all Americans oppose reconciliation..

    February 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Joshua College Station Texas

    I support reconciliation.

    The Republicans are abusing the filibuster such that decision-making in the Senate has become the rule of the minority and not the majority. Everything is backwards.

    Republicans have no willingness to support any initiative of the majority. Therefore, the majority cannot and should not allow themselves to be prevented from closing the deal on legislation by minority filibustering. Democrats can restore the proper balance of power by using reconciliation.

    February 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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