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. gt

    this is insane ,,, do it right ,,, get both sides together and get this done so all americans will feel good about it...no party should win ,, america should...

    February 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Jimmy James

    You mean what the left calls the " Nuclear Option" when it's mentioned to be used by a republican? Oh that's right. "Change" means 'Change" the names of things when democrats use it and make it sound scary and evil when republicans do it. The soundbites and speeches by Obama and Harry Reid about the use of it in the past will make this their last term if it's used.

    February 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. dcherry

    CNN does a poor job explain what reconciliation is. The bill will pass without reconciliation and they will make minor changes to the bill using reconciliation. You have people thinking they are passing the whole bill through reconciliation.

    February 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    Did anyone ask that 52% why they oppose reconciliation?

    February 25, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. stormerF

    After all the Democrats,cursing the use of reconciliation by the Republicans,Now they want to use it? The Senate may have the votes but I doubt the House has the 218 votes necessary. If they do There may be 218 newbies elected by the end of Obama's Term(only Term).

    February 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. virginia nielsen

    If the party of "NO" , after all the president's efforts, still wants to start it again let's go for reconcilliation !!! The american people can't wait anymore !!!

    February 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Hows that nonunion made Toyota workin for ya?

    Ram it,just like Bush did for the rich.

    February 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Chris

    Please that is a lie and I would like to see how they phrased the questions and who they were calling. Because i think the majority of Americans believe the Democrats should "DO WHAT MUST BE DONE" , so that the bill is passed and we can move on!! So this POLL is a LIE!!!

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. donttreadonme

    Harry Reid are you seriously going to compare adjusting tax rates percentages or tweaks to existing programs to creating a brand new wing of the Government. If this Government Healthcare plan was in place and they were tweaking some numbers there would be justification but to create it this way…please!

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Steve, New York City

    Seems quite silly for the Democrats to try something like this – I hope that it doesn't get approved.

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. beevee

    your poll seems to be very biased. I have known a lot of folks in my area who are very frustrated with the GOP leadership constantly obstructing any legislatives moves by WH and the democratic controlled congress and the senate. It seems to me they have no intenstion of any bipartisanship. Their only goal seems to be to make Mr. Obama as a one term president with the hope of putting a republican in the WH. I don't think they care about american public, their helath of welfare.

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. jp,michigan


    February 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Jane/Seattle

    Most folks probably do not understand these concepts! Ending this abuse of the filibuster by Republicans is what has to happen to make any progress. I've never been polled!

    February 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Chandler

    It is so tragic how so many of the American people are mislead by the GOP. Reconcillation is NOT as ground breaking as they make it seem. Lamar Alexandar is completely wrong when he says that it hasn't been used this way before. Nearly all Health Care reform over the past 40 years has been done this way. The GOP used reconcilliation to pass the $1 Trillion Medicare Part D! HYPOCRITES!

    February 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. citizen - you better BELIEVE it !

    You bet WE (the People) oppose – Just WAIT – NOVEMBER ELECTIONS are coming and SO WILL THE "PINK SLIPS" The VOTER has the FINAL SAY. Those who vote against the wishes of us that GAVE them the "JOB" have the POWER to TAKE THAT JOB AWAY. NOVEMBER will be "PINK SLIP" time for a GREAT MANY !

    February 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Michael

    How come the Republicans under W used is to push the tax-cust for the already rich thru?
    Then it was ok to use reconciliation.
    Boehner und McConnells, were where you then?
    In the Senate and you voted for it.
    So stop crying now. You are discusting

    February 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Mike in MN

    This will be just one more poll Obama and the Democrats will ignor or spin that it means something other than what it really says.
    This is an insult to voters, telling them they don't really matter. Democrats love to use needs of the voters as props to support their excessive govenment and excessive government spending but could care less about the voters opinion on how to meet their needs.

    February 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. mike

    Of course, the GOP is lying to the mainstream media calling it a nuclear option. The mainstream media doesn't even call them on it. They just nod and smile.

    February 25, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Ed

    I say go for it, I am tired of the R's just say no policy. The Democrats hold a majority and need to do whats right and pass the health care reform bill. All the republicans want to do is paralyze the government and then blame the Democrats for not getting anything done.

    February 25, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. cph9680

    That's ok, the Dems are stupid enough to still do it anyway.

    February 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Mark L.

    "Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee urged the Democrats not to use reconciliation to ram the measure through Congress." Senator Lamar Alexander – I PERSONALLY COULD CARE LESS WHAT YOU THINK !! RECONCILIATION ALL THE WAY !! HEALTHCARE REFORM LEGISLATION – ALL THE WAY !!

    February 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    I have always been a proponent of majority rules.

    February 25, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Patriot

    I really wonder if most of the people in this poll even know what reconciliation is.

    How about asking "If the only way to pass a comprehensive healthcare bill which would cover most Americans was by majority rule, would you be in favor?" I think the responses would be quite different.

    And just as a footnote: The Senate Repubs had no problem using reconcilation when they held the majority. Typical GOP hypocrisy....

    February 25, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Wisconsonite - End the Anti-Trust Exemption for Insurance Companies!

    Reconcilliation has been used 22 times in the last 29 years. 16 of those time is was used by the REPUBLICAN SENATE. I wonder if the people "polled" are aware of that fact?? Also, I wonder if they are aware of the fact that the tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of the American population, passed when G.W. Bush was President, was passed by the REPUBLICAN SENATE using Reconcilliation!

    In the words of Anthony Weiner . . . . DEAL WITH IT!

    February 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. db

    Make that 53% against.

    February 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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