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. Guyk

    Sounds like a democrat. Can't win under the rules...CHANGE the rules and HOPE that words.

    February 25, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Elle in WA

    Reconciliation is the only way a health care bill will be passed. From what I've seen of the Summit so far, nothing is getting done but political posturing. Republicans love to use reconciliation to get their favorite bills passed, so it's time the Dems grow a pair and just do it. There will never be a better time or a better cause.

    February 25, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Mike

    Until both parties can show a little "give" in their stances and work together, I have no use for either party.

    February 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Paul , St. Louis MO

    Please, how many people even know their congressman ? Very few people know what "reconcilation" means. Why not take a poll and ask if a majority of the Senate should be required to pass a bill or if 41 votes should be enough to kill a bill? I would be interested in the results of that poll.

    February 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. REG in AZ

    Something just doesn't sound right with that poll and we know wording of questions, how people are selected, on and on can affect polls. To fault the Democrats is fine and is justified as no one could ever say they are perfect. Personally I think they made a real error in having Health Care Reform as such a high priority; it is extremely important to the economy, to businesses, to people needing coverage, to straightening out entitlements and to people in general but the economy and jobs literally come first and need full attention. Then while the Democrats actually promote a more conscience driven mentality, they still flounder around failing to get their own people fully on board or organized. Now the criticism that they are too liberal and just want to give to the have-nots and tax the haves, is an effort to appeal to people's biases and fears with an old standard, non-realistic criticism and is without merit; right now we actually need some liberal thinking to recover balance from long neglect of everything and from a total focus having been only on benefit for Special Interests and the select few.

    The real point is that faulting the Democrats and trying to present the Republicans as without faults or even as a better choice is just ridiculous and irrational. For over nine years now the Republicans have not only clearly but also boldly and arrogantly demonstrated a total self-serving, grossly dishonest and unconscionably irresponsible focus on the few, their strong supporters who benefit, and on completely neglecting the majority. It isn't liberalism to now seek balance. The Democrats spending isn't the cause of the problems; the problems are the cause of the Democrats spending! The Republicans have consistently been irresponsible and even obnoxious in putting their political ambitions above all else and grossly dishonest in trying to sell it with their fear peddling, scare tactics, appeals to emotions, biases, prejudices and doing everything but responsibly offering anything positive or constructive. They shouldn't be rewarded, they should be well spanked. We know what we get from the Republicans and to be rational, we should firmly reject it. Finally, if the people really want what the Republicans offer, then that should be a rational and objective decision and not reached emotionally based on being conned! The BS should alienate people and not sway them.

    February 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Putting this through, with no votes from the GOP, would place the government is a precarious situation.

    That would amount to de facto dictatorship, and would not be at all palatable with citizens.

    February 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    The DEMOCRATs Today are just Thieves in the Night.

    AMERICA is against this current health plan.

    AMERICA is against increased cost.

    AMERICA is against Socialism.

    All these things the Democrats are trying to force upon us.

    Please write your Senators and Congressmen TODAY.

    February 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. RJ

    Here they Go Again ! It was okay for the Republicans to RAM through two tax cuts for the rich, insisting this trickle down trick would help the economy. They used reconciliation with the same arrogance they accused the Democrats of doing.

    February 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Ethan

    Ask the American people to define it first before you poll them.

    Then we'll see if the people care or not. This is a worthless poll.

    February 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Marilyn

    Any Democrat who goes along with the "reconciliation" process will be voted out of office in November.

    February 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Bob in Pa

    I thought reconciliation was only for budgetary items that are already on the books. That you can't pass new legislation this way.

    February 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Ron in Asheville, NC

    What? Why not use reconciliation? That's why it is an option. And it has been used by all majority parties since its inception. Indeed, if memory serves me well, the Bush tax cuts were "rammed through" by recourse to reconciliation.

    February 25, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Navy Vet

    Reconciliation is nothing new, in fact an old tool of the Republicans. Now that people know more about what's going on people act like it's some new scary thing to be afraid of because of more labeling from the right.

    Who cares about Polls? Polls are designed to illicit a certain response depending on who asks whom, what and how.

    The only polls that matter are the voting booths and the people spoke.

    February 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Chas in Iowa

    It's good enough for the huge tax cuts Bush gave the rich but not good enough for health care for working class Americans.

    February 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It's unsettling to me when I hear Republicans like Colburn say they know about the waste in healthcare cost which has occurred year after year but they have never done anything about it. To know and have done nothing and tell the public they know and yet continue to support Americans being robbed is unconstitutional. Democrats should move ahead and move now without these Republicans, they owe it to the American people.

    February 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. No Incumbents 2010

    A majority opposes majority rule. Democracy is based on majority rule. A majority favors endless gridlock and stalemate.

    February 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Tony G

    I say use it and get something done in Washington. Whether it has bi-partisan support or not, we elected a Democratic majority for a reason. Because the Republicans didn't get anything done for almost 8 years. It's time to stop debating this issue and do something. We've wasted enough time going in circles. The only reason Republicans are denouncing the tactic is because they know this is the best thing we can hope for. I guarantee if they were back in power they wouldn't hesitate to use it for whatever they wanted.

    February 25, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Jeff in Virginia

    The majority also believes that reconciliation is the same as the so-called 'nuclear option'. The two aren't even close, other than Republicans seem willing to abuse both notions.

    February 25, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. cjr

    oh right if you believe that ............................... m every indication is that we want and need a health care bill. any one who votes against it faces certain defeat in November

    February 25, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Majority oppose?

    NOT ME

    February 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Diane Keichinger

    Who is being polled not anyone I know. Why don't you
    say how any people were polled. It not 52% of Americans
    it is 52% of the people polled. Tell the truth.

    February 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. get real

    The majority of Americans are also sick of the filibuster. So, get rid of the filibuster and reconciliation won't be necessary.

    February 25, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Ada-Mount Pocono,pa

    Where do you guys get these poll numbers?

    If reconciliation is the only way to pass some sort of health care bill- DO IT! There are people suffering out there with no health care coverage.

    The party of 'NO' is never going to agree and therefore they are not really for the people. They are just about themselves.

    Forget about the politics in this, we the people need health care now.

    February 25, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. j

    This never got in their way during the Bush years

    February 25, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. NVa Native

    I doubt the Repubs cared what the polls said when they used the reconcilliation process sixteen times on major policy issues since 1980.
    So why should the Dems care – they need to just do the right thing and pass it with the public option.

    February 25, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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