February 25th, 2010
12:13 PM ET
10 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. Ohio Dem

    I oppose it! I want reform, but all the current proposal does is create another entitlement program at taxpayers expense. It DOES NOT do anything with cost controls! It does not level the playing field for competition between insurance companies. Pelosi needs to start over. The American people have already spoken on this issue (Mass., etc.). Continuing down this path will be POLITICAL SUICIDE and I do not want to see us (Dems) loose any more power. GET SMART Pelosi!

    February 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Cindy

    It's a legitimate tool of the system. Use it or lose it.

    February 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. MsDp

    Sorry, but no one asked me, I donot oppose reconcilation nor do my community (2500). RECONCILE, RECONCILE, & RECONCILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Go ahead and try it, Reid. You AND your liberal lackeys will feel the wrath at the polls in November. Then our new Republican controlled House and Senate will undo EVERYTHING you and your democrat losers pushed through in this manner. Either way, you lose. Sucks to be you, Harry.

    February 25, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Tom Bond

    Is there any way for pollers to first ask if respondents are aware of how reconciliation has been used in the past? Those who sat by and watched it used for Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are now opposed to using it for something which might begin to bring the United States in line with other developed countries – where quality heal;th care is a right for all, not just the wealthy (like Congressmen)

    February 25, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Partisan hypocrite

    Democrats oppose it as well.
    At least they did in 2005.

    February 25, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Dan Holiday

    Is this a shock? I don't think so.

    February 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. inofritzn

    Why do they call it reconciliation when dems do it, but call it the nuclear option when repubs do it? why did the dems call it anti-american in 2005 when repubs were going to do it, but its ok now?????

    February 25, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. FRED

    CNN another stupid poll, how many of those people even knew or even understood what RECONCILIATION is 1,009 people polled does not speak for the whole country. You guys really need to quit with these meaningless polls. I have yet to be even polled so who exactly are you polling?

    February 25, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Alex

    Universal Health Care for everyone !!! I'm not a person with a lot of resources but I dont mind paying more taxes if it means no more americans will die everyday for lack of insurance.

    February 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Andy

    Go ahead moron dems and pass this by reconciliation,make my day,you will be run out by the people.I dare you dems,do it and I will be rid of you morons.you are NOTHING but lies,blame,and spin.

    February 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Sharon T.

    Count me as one of those voters who does NOT want reconciliation on health care reform. You don't need to be an Einstein to deduce that the health care comprehensive bills that democrats couldn't pass were a monstrosity and to now insult my and every other citizen's intelligence, by wanting to go the nuclear route is despicable. We will be watching and waiting to punish any member that goes this route in November and that you can take to the bank.

    February 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    The Majority oppose the ferderal debt, but the Government keeps spending us into bankruptcy.

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. E

    so when republicans did it, noone had a problem, but democrats shouldn't dare?

    February 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    I don't know who you're polling.

    I asked 7 of my neighbors in the last few days if they believe reconciliation should be used for health care passage. That makes 8 in all (I count myself as 1 ).

    6 of 8 said YES – use reconciliation to stop the republican rule that has gone on for way too long.

    Take THAT POLL.

    February 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Candi

    The dems will not believe this poll either,maybe they will pass by reconciliation and we can get rid of the idiot dems and their ignorant followers,the sheep following their mezziah.Make our day morons and try it,dare you idiots to do it.

    February 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Tom

    What does the American people not understand about majority rule. Thats the very basis of our political system. This poll suggests 52% of the people don't believe in democracy.

    February 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee urged the Democrats not to use reconciliation but it was OK for Republicans to use it for 16 of the 24 times it was used in the Senate.

    Congress can't work together and the business of the nation is falling behind because every bill is being forced to require 60 votes to pass in the Senate. Personally I am fed up with both Democrats and Republicans screwing up my life. I will admit, however, that they do provide a prime example why we should get the insurance company out from between me and my doctor. They insurance companies deny me coverage for something and the government can't decide what coverage I can have. It's a no win situation.

    Maybe we should replace the Senate and House.

    February 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Jerry - Florida

    Don't waste time on polls. As has been demonstrated time and time again, the opinions of Americans mean little or nothing to President NObama and his cronies. In President NObama's mind, what American want is more of his destructive, ill-thought policies.

    But, he and his minions are not going to be around too much longer.

    May GOD help and guide this once great country.

    February 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Adam

    Quite frankly I don't believe that 52% of voting Americans even know what reconciliation is and that its been used many times in the past. Also, 1009 people is a pretty poor sample size to represent the American voting public.

    February 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Pam from Iowa

    I would bet my savings that most of those polled don't have the slightest idea what a filibuster is!

    February 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Sadie

    Sorry but the 1,009 people questioned by phone does not give the correct percentage of people who are sick and tired of the Republicans trying to StoneWall the Health Care Reform.......I hope the Democrats hold true to their word and go for the Reconciliation......the Republicans have have used Reconciliation more times than the Democrats to push throw their bills and agendas, and now they are telling the Democrats not to do it.......what hypocrits..........

    February 25, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. keith A. sillsbury

    how about this lamar, you work with dems on healthcare reform so it won't have to be used. If you don't YOUR FIRED!

    February 25, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    Does MOST Americans know what RECONCILIATION means????? Hmm, I wonder and I also wonder – who did you ask???

    February 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Kathleen

    I am soooooooooooooo sick of these freakin' polls. Who do they
    call???? Retired people (I am retired and want health care to pass
    for my country, children, and grandchildren)! I've been out in the
    work world as a professional and NOBODY EVER called me. WHO
    DO THEY CALL!!!!!! They did NOT call me and they don't call young
    people who have cell phones.


    And CNN headlines MAJORITY OF PEOPLE oppose reconciliation
    when it was 52% and 9% UNSURE. They, CNN are unsure because
    they don't have time to sit at home and listen to what is going on in
    our country! They are "working too hard to put food on their table and
    "god forbid" not be screwed over by the INSURANCE CONGLOMARATE. Then others are "misinformed" or "scared" because of the downright LIES coming from the Republicans!
    and the freakin' BLUE DOGS who CALL themselves Democrats.

    Of the politicians that I have seen so far at this "summit" is one
    that calls himself "A DOCTOR" Re. Charles Baustaney R-LA.but HE IS a Republican Politicianthan, I am sure, the Repubs. was sure to have him attend to put and I think the Repubs brought three other Doctors
    who are die hard Rich Republicans!

    Then there was that idiot Paul Ryan who had the balls last week to
    stand up and say END MEDICARE AND S.S. Something like that.
    Then there was that lying Mitch McConnell, McBalls, McCain, Boehner.

    Then on MSNBC, they had that stupid Pat Buchanan, who talks from both sides of his mouth saying KYL, was wonderful and had a great
    bedside manner!!!!!! NO, Pat Buchanan! Why does MSNBC even have
    your old a– on their station and, every night! PLEASE. Him and Newt
    are in the same catagory as far as I am concerned.

    TOO LONG!!!!!!!
    a damper on helping the people.

    February 25, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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