Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/11/10-What I Learned from the Gallup Poll

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This will be our last entry until Monday morning, so it better be good.

GALLUP POLL: Gallup recently polled 1,108 Americans on the health care bill. A small plurality opposed the bill. But what was most interesting is that Gallup asked people why they supported or why they opposed the bill. The answers for those opposed to the bill were particularly illuminating. The most common reason people gave is "cost" or "it costs too much" or "it will bankrupt us." This is verifiably false. Every estimate by the Congressional Budget Office has shown that the bill will reduce the deficit, and reduce it significantly in the out years. I think people's instinct is to think that since this is a bill that gives more people insurance, we must be spending a ton of money. It has also, of course, been a hallmark of this past year's Republican talking points.

The second biggest source of opposition was from people who repeated GOP buzzwords like socialism and government-takeover. This means that a majority of the opposition to this bill, by the way, comes from beliefs that are verifiably false or from the blind regurgitation of political slogans. It's very frustrating, isn't it?

Another major source of opposition was from people who are simply ideologically opposed to giving other people health insurance. A shocking number of respondents said things like "I don't want my money to pay for other people's health care" or "people should have to work if they want health care." It's pretty depressing that this many people exist in this country.

Sometimes the media just makes up storylines about why people oppose the bill. Oftentimes in doing so, they create narratives that don't really exist. Almost nobody talked about the reconciliation process, and very few of them talked about abortion. It is very interesting to see what people are actually thinking, rather than what the media thinks they're thinking.

HEALTH CARE: The CBO today released a revise estimate of the Senate health bill today. It said that the bill will cover 31 million additional Americans and cut the deficit by $118 billion. Those are really the only statistics that matter right now. It makes Democratic opposition to the bill seem pretty darn irrational.

Tomorrow, the CBO will release an estimate of President Obama's proposed changes to the bill, which will be taken up in a reconciliation package. The House Budget Committee has scheduled a hearing to markup the reconciliation bill on Monday. This could set up a vote on both the Senate bill and the reconciliation bill by the end of the week. A few major issues are hampering the process.

For one, the Democrats still need to come up with 216 votes. According to The Hill, 25 Democrats have already indicated that they are definite no's or leaning no. Democrats can only afford to lose 37 members of their caucus, since no Republicans are expected to oppose the bill. Even liberal Democrats like Rep. Capuano (D-MA) have to be jerks and announce that they are "undecided." It's just hard to figure out how Nancy Pelosi will pull this off.

Secondly, the Senate parliamentarian claimed today that the President must sign the Senate bill before Congress can consider the reconciliation package of fixes. This is problematic, because House Democrats don't want to vote for some of the more unpopular provisions in the Senate bill without 100% assurance that they will be removed. Democrats had been planning to use a self-executing rule that would state that if the reconciliation bill passed, the Senate bill would automatically pass as well. This way, House members would never have to vote directly on the Senate bill. The parliamentarian's ruling puts this process in question. We'll give you an update on the health care situation on Monday. At the very least, the wheels are in motion. If your member of Congress is undecided, now would be a great time to give them a call.

THE HOUSE: The House spent the day condemning people, basically. First. the House voted unanimously to approve four articles of impeachment on G. Thomas Porteous, a District Court Judge in Louisiana who has been accused of a number of corruption charges. It looks like a lock that the Senate will convict him and throw him out of office. The House also voted to start an investigation into Rep. Eric Massa's departure from Congress. Republican leaders wanted to know whether Democrats like Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi had previous knowledge of Massa's creepy behavior. House Democrats were happy to oblige. A resolution to send the matter to the ethics committee was approved 402-1 with 15 members voting "present." The House will take up the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009. No idea what that means.

THE SENATE: The Senate spent the day considering a bill to authorize FAA programs. They took no votes, and won't resume consideration of the bill until Monday.

That's it for now. Have a great weekend!

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