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Congressional Insiders Poll

Q: If unemployment continues to rise, should Congress pass another stimulus package?

Democrats (39 votes)

Yes                   44 percent
No                    51 percent
Depends (volunteered)  5 percent



"As long as it is jobs, jobs, jobs."

"We can't sit by and watch as unending job losses begin to trigger more foreclosures and sap the confidence needed to revive consumer spending and investment."


"All the big boys got bailouts. The average American needs help. After all, their taxes went to pay the big boys' bills."

"The six-year highway reauthorization bill would be a great second stimulus."

"Narrower in scope: safety-net provisions for individuals, possibly additional relief for state budgets. The big question would be whether to engage in further pump-priming via infrastructure and other projects."

"As long as unemployment continues to rise, we have to provide benefits to people. And programs that have proven themselves effective, like the homebuyer tax credit, should be continued, too."


"But the public, not yet believing that the economy is actually improved by the first stimulus, will give us a hard time if we do."


"Patience is a virtue that is always in short supply, especially when unemployment rates are high and people are hurting, but we have to have more faith. The first stimulus package is working. And in the coming months the unemployment rate will see improvement."

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"We need to wait and see the full results of the first stimulus package, which hasn't all been distributed yet, before passing another one."

"Need to make the first one work."

"For political and policy (inflation) reasons, we can't borrow a lot more money for more spending, even though the first recovery plan is starting to work, because properly targeted spending does help the economy."

"We should use the surface [transportation] reauthorization bill, which is necessary and will serve the same purpose in stimulating our economy by creating and saving jobs."

"We should pass the transportation reauthorization."

"We should consider a tax credit for employers who create jobs."


"If the economy needs additional boosts, Congress should be prepared to do what's necessary."

Q: If unemployment continues to rise, should Congress pass another stimulus package?

Republicans (44 votes)

Yes                    7 percent
No                    89 percent
Depends (volunteered)  5 percent



"Targeted, timely, and tax-break-oriented."

"I would consider this more of a first stimulus package, not a second."


"More government spending isn't the answer. We need pro-growth policies focused on creating jobs, not more government bureaucrats."

"The notion that there is even the smallest appetite for more jobless federal spending proves that the leadership in Congress is out of touch."

"Passing a second stimulus is admitting that the first one was a failure. Democrats are already frightened about 2010. They don't have the political guts to 'double down' on a bad bet."

"Won't work and will frighten purchasers of American debt even further."

"Unless there is some mechanism to speed up approval of spending on job-producing projects."

"We have to address the systemic issues that paved the way for this crisis. Until we address those things, the economy will continue to falter."

"Cut taxes, like Kennedy in 1961 and Reagan in 1981."

"Congress should reallocate money from the completely ineffective package passed earlier this year into real private-sector stimulus like tax incentives, purchase incentives, and infrastructure."

"Why not look to reprogram the stimulus to actually create jobs?"

"I have little confidence that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Harry] Leader Reid would actually target the stimulus to those who create jobs."

"We certainly need to do something, but the votes aren't there."

"The first one was so horrible, expensive, and inept, I don't want them 'trying' again."

"The utter failure of the first stimulus should be reason enough not to make that mistake twice, not incentive to do so again."

"A second stimulus? And when would that money kick in, 2012?"

"Hell, no!!!"


"Not another bill taking the past stimulus approach, but one focused on tax incentives for small business and job growth."

Q: If major health care legislation clears Congress this year, will it include a public option?

Democrats (39 votes)

Yes                 79 percent
No                  15 percent
Maybe (volunteered)  5 percent



"Without a public option, there is no hope of controlling costs. And that is fundamental to providing affordable health care coverage for the American people."

"Can't accomplish the reforms necessary without the public option."

"It better. To ignore 65 percent of the population supporting the public option is undemocratic and fiscally unwise -- failing to contain costs, increase preventive care services, and streamline the delivery of health care."

"Support for the public option remains strong with everyday Americans, and is even picking up some momentum in both the House and the Senate. Members realize that if we're forcing folks to carry insurance we have to give them an affordable option. And the public health insurance option remains the best method for providing that care while reining in health care costs."

"Whether it carries the moniker 'public option' or not, the health reform bill will introduce true competition into the health insurance market, and force private insurance companies to put patients and providers first."

"Insurance companies want their mandate, but there's no way they're going to get it without a public option. Moderate Senate Democrats will get in line; [Republican Sen. Olympia] Snowe will join."

"Close enough by government standards."

"Probably in hybrid form."

"Five committees, four public options --"

"Support for the public option is growing, not declining."

"If more members of Congress listen to the quiet pleas of real Americans in need, rather than the loud shouts of paid interest groups, there will be a public option."


"Sadly, Democrats won't act like the Democrats who were elected."

"At this point, the public option is less about health care reform and more about political victories. Democrats cannot include it in a final plan to be voted on without the expectation that they will take a serious loss if it fails to pass."

Q: If major health care legislation clears Congress this year, will it include a public option?

Republicans (44 votes)

Yes 20 percent
No  80 percent



"At the end of the day, the liberals prevail. It's not reform; it's a religion."

"Democrats will find a way to get it through the Senate with 51 votes."

"They have enough margin in the House to let a bunch of Democrats vote against it. Speaker Pelosi has made a political calculus that she can lose a bunch of Blue Dogs next year. Her life would be easier anyway."

"Blue Dogs with broken arms will need the public option."

"A watered-down triggered version that barely resembles H.R. 3200."


"This is a bone the Blue Dogs can't swallow and moderate Democrats in the Senate won't chew. The best [that] liberals can hope for is a trigger."

"Americans don't support more government involvement, so Democratic leaders proceed at their own peril. This may be the most important vote vulnerable Democrats cast this Congress."

"[Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max] Baucus is right that creation of a government-run insurance plan to 'compete' with private insurance does not have 60 votes in the Senate."

"It's hard to see a public option move when even Baucus voted against it -- not once, but twice."

"However, there will be a trigger for it to activate later."

"Perhaps a government-funded co-op that is the same thing in reality."

"I believe the Democrats' abilities to ram through a public option in reconciliation have been overstated."

"The Democrats realize that including a public option will not help the administration enact promised legislation. It is too toxic."

"This would be a poison pill for Democrats."

"Will the majority leadership listen? [House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer will."

"It's clear Pelosi and Reid love the public option as much as they hate public input."

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Artur Davis, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Phil Hare, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Frank Kratovil, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Pete Stark, John Tanner, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, and Peter Welch.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, Jim Bunning, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Michael Castle, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, David Dreier, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, Bob Inglis, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.

This article appears in the October 10, 2009 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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