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. Joe from Ohio

    Please Nancy and Harry use the Reconciliation process. It will put the Democrats back in the minority for at least another 10 years.

    Please Please make our Day!

    February 25, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Tom B

    Republican Spokesman Alexander is actually lying – reconciliation was used to implement Bush's tax policy twice. Does taxation in his book affect less than 17% of the economy?

    February 25, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. southerncousin

    Don't people get it. It doesn't matter what the people think, you are dealing with liberals who are far superior to anyone else. That is why we have to begin taking back our country in November.

    February 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Mark in PA

    Republicans are acting like children. Time to grow up, act like adults, and work with the Democrats instead of crying to mommy. You're a bunch of hypocrites and history proves that.

    February 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Stu - Las Vegas

    I bet all of the 1009 adults polled were from red states, right Paul?

    February 25, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Paul

    It would be nice if the media worked harder to make something clear: the bill will NOT pass by reconciliation. The bill already passed the Senate with 60 votes. Reconciliation is being discussed as a means to change, in very limited ways, the Senate bill to try and get enough votes in the House to pass it.

    If anyone tells you the Dems are trying to pass the bill via reconciliation, they are lying.

    February 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. RinMaine

    It was never meant that the minority party would be able to DEMAND control of the government when they have only 42 senators. They could still, even now, negotiate a good relationship and share in government, but oh no, they want control. Use reconciliation and just screw those twits.

    February 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. John

    If you use reconciliation for this....... you will pay for it the rest of your political careers my friends.....

    go ahead..... I dare you.

    If you think the public is upset with congress now..... you have no idea what outrage this will produce....

    what a horrible, clearly desperate, idea this is.......

    February 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. Grizzly

    The 1,009 Americans in this poll do not speak for me. The Dems are in the majority, and in a democracy, majority rules.

    Requiring 60 votes to pass a bill is hogwash, as the Repubs had no problem using reconciliation under Bush. They are just playing the same old political game of obstruction, to the detriment of the American people.

    The Dems need to exercise the power of the majority to get things done for the American people, who are hurting. That is why they won the election. They need to do the right thing, and not be swayed by misleading polls....

    February 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. ran

    I am in the 39% group. Enough of the fear/hate/obstructionism by the Republicans/ blue dogs and yes Lieberman.

    If the above obstructionist continue their ways then get the bill passed any way you can.

    Enough is enough. Premiums are going up 23-59 % this year.

    If recociliation is used then put the public option back in or even better give us single payer non-profit universal health care now.

    February 25, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. jm for sc

    The majority of the people do not understand the questions being asked in polls. If they did, the out come would be different.

    Unless we have a president in office that is concerned about the healthcare of the American people, the subject will remain on the back burner from year to year.

    We have not had this much push for health care since President Clinton was in office. It will take a Democratic president to make this happen. It is just like the min. wages which stood still the entire 8 years President Reagan was in office.

    When you have a president to oppress people, they are viewed as heros by the Republican party.

    I have heath insurance but there are others who do not. I encourage President Obama to push hard until it gets done. Many of those Republicans were in office for years and never came up with a plan to insure the American people.

    February 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Dean

    Of the 21 times it's been used I think 16 times it's been used by the Republicans for their pet projects like the Failed Contract for America, and the Bush tax cuts in 2000 and 2003 for the rich Heck I say go for it Dems give them a taste of their own medicine

    February 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Publico

    The people voted in November and the Democrats won. They have a majority and that is what our Constitution says rules in Congress. Get the job done on health care and if the people want to change it and elect the party of NO in retaliation, so be it. At least the Democrats are trying to lead the country, not bleed it for their own benefit and that of their corporate masters. Remember that most people were against Medicare when it was passed. How many Medicare recipients would vote to give up their benefits? No takers. I thought so.

    February 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. cc

    another bull from the new!!!

    February 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Johnny DC

    Reconciliation is for emergency budget issues. The only other time anyone can see using it would be for immediate passage of legislation without massive, awe-inspiring implications.

    To use such a process to pass legislation of this size and impact is IRRESPONSIBLE and a slap in the face of the American legal process.

    You will see backlashes in every future Senate, with reconciliation used to authorize wars, confirmations, and everything under the sun.

    February 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. rich moore

    The cloture rule needs to be abolished. Why in a Democracy, should a simple majority not be enough to get a bill passed? Why doesn't CNN post on the screen how much each member speaking at the health care summit receives in campaign contributions from the Drug and Health Care industries. The public could at least see some of the true reasons the Republicans are so adamant about maintaining the status quo.

    February 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Meet me in Amsterdam

    Pass the bill with a public option.

    February 25, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. AJ

    Again, this shows that Americans are too stupid for democracy. The electorate is furious that nothing is getting done but they dont want the majority party to do anything about it. Lets hope that the Dems just chalk this poll up to stupidity and move on...

    February 25, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Juge

    The majority of whom – The Republicans and/or the Blue Dog Democrats who are really Republicans in sheeps clothing.

    February 25, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Peggy Tx

    Do it anyways!!!! The public is confused, thanks to Rebub lies, about what reconciliation is, how often it is used, and what is actually in the healthacre bill. The poll reflects this confusion. The Senate rules call for majoiy rule, not super-majority. Dems, you have the majority so go make it happen. Better to live or die by how good the bill proves to be, rather then to simply give up and die as cowwards by Rebub bullies.

    February 25, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. EDDIE

    I say use it.Or the next time your coverage premiums go up, don't complain and just smile because that's the way you wanted it.

    February 25, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. single mom

    Yeah! Not that anyone should have needed a poll telling them that Americans don't like it when you change the rules to get what you want. People in Massachusettes made that clear – I think the Dems playing fast and loose with the rules after Kennedy died contributed to Scott Brown winning.

    ALL politicians should be treading carefully. The voters are NOT happy.

    February 25, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Pete East

    Here is a novel idea. Do it and see what happens. Let the record show exactly who voted for and against and let them explain to thier constituents what they did and why. Left and Right. Democrat and Republican.

    My belief is if the Democrats, the liberal ones anyway, were serious about this they would have done it by now.

    February 25, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. pia davis

    I am so sick and tired of polls determining my opinnion when no one ever ask me my thoughts. I don't care how they pass it as long as they do with or without the Reps.

    February 25, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. demwit

    You mean CNN's progressively laden blog doesn't represent the majority!!?
    But, but...

    February 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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