Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Congressional Insiders Poll Congressional Insiders Poll

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

Insiders discuss what Congress will do about the debt ceiling and the health care law.

Which, if any, of these measures should be in a bill to raise the debt ceiling?

Democrats (31 votes)

Cuts in nondefense discretionary spending: 19%
Cuts in defense spending: 29%
Cuts in entitlement spending: 10%
Tax increases: 19%
None; pass a clean bill: 61%
Other (volunteered): 6%


Cuts in nondefense spending

“Entitlement cuts and tax increases will kill the measure, but discretionary and defense spending should be heavily scrutinized.”

Cuts in defense


“Our nation’s debt, already tipped toward the untenable, could be lowered immediately with an effective line-item cut to defense. Will it happen? No, because the defense industry strategically situated small-parts manufacturing in every congressperson’s district.”

“Before we look at any other account, we should decide if we have the courage to look closely at defense spending.”

None; clean bill

“As Boehner said, ‘We need to be adults about this.’ ”


“Debt is debt. You can play games with your personal debt, but not with public debt. We have to be smart about trimming waste, not meat.”

“Since it’s impossible to raise revenues with people paying their fair shares, then pass a clean bill.”

“Rather than hastily adopting arbitrary changes to federal fiscal policy that significantly impacts a large segment of the population, Congress should invest the time and resources to produce a cogent and comprehensive plan to reduce the debt and deficit.”

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Sign up form for the newsletter

“But honesty in government is too much to expect.”


“Pass debt ceiling with general language committing to all of the above.”

“Budget measures should be dealt with in the Budget Committee.”


Which, if any, of these measures should be in a bill to raise the debt ceiling?

Republicans (33 votes)

Cuts in nondefense discretionary spending: 97%
Cuts in defense spending: 55%
Cuts in entitlement spending: 67%
Tax increases:  3%
None; pass a clean bill: 0%
Other (volunteered): 3%

Cuts in nondefense spending

“The president needs to show a willingness to join Republicans in trimming back bloated discretionary spending to ensure a smooth debt-ceiling vote.”

“I believe any debt-ceiling bill should cut nondefense discretionary spending, but it should include systemic reform too, like a permanent limit on discretionary spending or zero-based budgeting.”

“The debt ceiling won’t be raised unless it is accompanied by real spending cuts and budget reforms.”

“And the Democrats will have to provide votes, as this is their administration and the deficit they have created over the past two years.”

“Republicans don’t want to shut down the government, but they do want to shut down this government.”

“The Republicans must insist on enormous spending cuts and get a very good deal with Obama or they will not be able to pass this vote. It will be the marquee vote of the first half of the year.”

Cuts in defense

“I think we need across-the-board cuts in all federal departments. Any entitlement-spending ‘cuts’ shouldn’t be part of this particular vote.”

“Cuts in nondefense discretionary and defense spending: Plus a budget reform provision. Cuts can be reversed but budget reform has more longevity.”

Cuts in entitlements

“The long-term fiscal solvency of our nation is compromised and in doubt as long as lawmakers continue to ignore the reality that entitlements are on the brink of collapse, and the existing system right now is unsustainable. Programs first conceived more than 50 years ago need to be updated, reformed, and modernized. Whether it be by means-testing or raising the retirement age, all things must be on the table for an honest debate, or the programs will collapse and seniors and future generations will be left with nothing at all.”


What is Congress most likely to do about the health care law this year? 

Democrats (31 votes)

Repeal significant portions of the law: 0%
Withhold funding for implementing significant portions of the law: 20%
Keep the law largely intact: 74%
Repeal and withhold funding (volunteered): 3%
Other (volunteered): 3%

Withhold funding

“The only action House Republicans can actually accomplish if they stand true to their rhetoric. And if Obama has the courage and the smarts, he can bypass this obstruction.”

“Some important parts will not get funded.”

“Republicans already wasted time with their attempt to repeal the bill. They will likely continue to withhold funding or remove provisions.”

“I think Republicans will try to withhold funding unless the Senate Dems cave in and go along with this madness.”

Keep largely intact

“House Republicans will not succeed in stopping health care reform at the federal level. I’m more worried about this new crop of Republican governors.”

“Republicans will continue to try to chip away at the law, but I doubt they’ll make a significant dent. Repeal simply doesn’t have enough support, and turning the clock back is no easy task legislatively.”

“The GOP can’t realistically deliver on this promise.”

“The law isn’t perfect, but nothing that large is likely to be. Some of those imperfections should be addressed and probably will be with bipartisan majorities. ‘Heal it, but don’t repeal it’ would seem to apply here.”

“House will repeal; Senate will not. President has the big ‘V.’ ”

“The Senate will check the abuses of the House, and the president will do the same for both.”

“Repeal is red-meat politics for the right wing.”


“Not fund discretionary programs—these are low-hanging fruit and the only way the GOP can say they have ‘defunded health care.’ ”


What is Congress most likely to do about the health care law this year? 

Republicans (33 votes)

Repeal significant portions of the law: 6%
Withhold funding for implementing significant portions of the law: 70%
Keep the law largely intact: 9%
Repeal and withhold funding (volunteered): 9%
Other (volunteered): 6%

Withhold funding

“Full repeal is obviously dead in the Senate. But the House will keep attacking unpopular portions of the law—1099 reporting, Medicare cuts, people losing coverage—to build bipartisan consensus that there’s more bad than good in the law. Republicans will score some victories to weaken the law through the budget process.”

“House will lead way and—with health care items—will not budge in negotiations with Senate.”

“This will be a pitched battle in the Appropriations committees.”

“Republicans know that they must be able to demonstrate something tangible to their base on this issue.”

“The passage of ‘Obamacare’ was only the beginning of the fight. We won’t see its end for many years.”

Keep largely intact

“We will see more repeal action in the courts than in Congress.”

“It remains to be seen how successful efforts to defund the bill will be. For now, I think the fate of the health care bill will be decided by the next election.”

Repeal and withhold funding

“Slowly but surely, progress will be made on repealing this law because it will destroy jobs and bankrupt our country.”


“Overturn portions of the law through the Congressional Review Act. The key power is the ability to force cloture in the Senate.”

“Repeal the law (which the president will then likely veto).”


Democratic Congressional Insiders  Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, Pete Stark, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson.

GOP Congressional Insiders  Sens. Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Charlie Dent, David Dreier, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte,Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Pete Sessions, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Sign up form for the newsletter
comments powered by Disqus