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Congressional Insiders Poll: Will Spending Caps, Entitlement Reforms be Attached to Debt-Limit Increase? Congressional Insiders Poll: Will Spending Caps, Entitlement Reforms b...

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Magazine / Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll: Will Spending Caps, Entitlement Reforms be Attached to Debt-Limit Increase?

Plus: Who gained the most from the CR deal?

April 14, 2011

Do you think that significant spending caps and entitlement reforms will be attached to the debt-limit increase?

Democrats (31 votes)

Yes: 48%
No: 39%
Depends, don’t know (volunteered): 13%



“Unless President Obama stands up and fights back to protect his health care reform and the Democratic legacy.”

“I think something like the Bowles-Simpson proposal will have to be adopted before we’re able to pass a debt-ceiling increase.”

“Obama has shown he will not fight and cannot negotiate.”

“Senior GOP House members have said [that] the only way they’ll vote to raise the ceiling is with caps and reforms, but it’s not something the American people are behind.”

“The GOP will not vote without it.”

“Since Obama wouldn’t stand up to Republicans over issues like the tax cuts and budget negotiations that, compared to a default, are rather piddling, the Republicans have all the leverage here. Without a change in the current dynamic, [House Speaker John] Boehner will essentially decide how much he can put on this thing, and Obama will take it.”

“Do I support that? No!”

“Republicans have already proven that Obama will do hostage nego­tiations with tea party terrorists and give up his priorities as a result.”

“I think something will be attached. The Republicans would add cuts to a vote on approving the journal, if they could.”


“Republicans will attempt to attach conditions, but a fuller budget settlement will require a different process and more time.”

Depends, don’t know

“Won’t pass if bells and whistles [are] added—it may not pass without them.”

“Certainly, the Republicans will try, but it should be a clean bill.”

“Too early to tell.”

“It is foolish to play chicken with America’s credibility on the world financial stage. All would agree—keep partisan issues out of debt-limit operations.”


Do you think that significant spending caps and entitlement reforms will be attached to the debt-limit increase?

Republicans (32 votes)

Yes: 91%
No: 9%


“It is the only way it will pass.”

“There’s no way to get the support of our conference without them.”

“Americans won’t tolerate an increase in the debt limit without real spending cuts and budget reforms.”

“Both sides actually agree on the need for spending caps, so that should be easy. Entitlement reform is tougher, but there must be something, as well as a balanced-budget vote in the Senate.”

“Entitlements are driving factors behind our $14 trillion deficit.”

“A ‘clean’ debt-limit increase is too much of a nonstarter for too many that there will simply have to be spending caps and reforms attached. This is the fight to be having, and it will be a big one—as the rhetoric has already been ramping up.”

“If spending caps and entitlement reforms aren’t included in the debt-limit increase, it won’t pass!”

“I think significant reforms are imperative. Failing to act by coupling structural changes to the debt-limit vote would be a missed opportunity.”

“Obama needs to get in front of the parade again, and he sees entitlement reforms as his reelect vehicle.”

“Spending caps are a must. As a parent, if my child irresponsibly maxed out my credit card, I would pay the bill. But I would also cut up the credit card to make sure it couldn’t happen again.”

“At some point, he has to get off the campaign bus and govern.”

“If there aren’t, it won’t pass the House.”


Who do you think gained the most from the deal on the continuing resolution?

Democrats (31 votes)

John Boehner: 42%
President Obama: 26%
Neither: 26%

Also receiving votes: Big Oil, 3%; both, 3%.


“Boehner’s probably asking himself how much more he could have gotten if he started at an even higher levels of cuts, given Obama’s unwillingness to stand up to Republican bullying tactics. Answer: probably 80 percent of whatever he asked for.”

“He now fully controls the debate topic, large cuts and only large cuts. He got more than he originally sought. He began the process of limiting the tea party members.”

“He is setting the agenda, and Obama looks weak.”

“Boehner was beholden to his right wing, and he was able to use their threats to extract concessions from his negotiating partners. But this will pose difficulties for him, as well as for us, long term.”

“The Republicans had the upper hand in the negotiations. The cuts are too deep and indiscriminate, and many members still don’t know the specifics. At the end of the day, the tea party won.”


“It’s official; Boehner leads a caucus at war with women, seniors, and the environment. Not a turn-on for independents.”

“Boehner put a brave face on a clear retreat.”

“Boehner will take his lumps from the tea party members who were cheering for a shutdown. When Michele Bachmann is the voice of reason on avoiding a shutdown, you’ve got a leadership problem.”

“I think the president gained the most because he is not seen as the one to agree to cuts. It is expected from the tea party-controlled Republicans.”


“I thought that our country probably gained the most.”

“No one ‘wins’ when our country looks so foolish.”

“The public has no idea what a CR is; spin it anyway you want. None of it makes sense to Main Street.”

“Just a game of male media chicken; the public is tired of it.”


Who do you think gained the most from the deal on the continuing resolution?

Republicans (32 votes)

John Boehner: 84%           
President Obama: 3%           
Neither: 13%           


“Where the speaker has been successful is focusing the debate on what and how much to cut, rather than if we should cut.”

“He was incredible: kept his cool; kept the majority of his conference together; kept pushing the envelope.”

“John Boehner advanced spending cuts in an unprecedented way, so this has to be seen as a victory for him.”

“Obama’s initial position was zero spending cuts, and once he locked in on $33 billion, Boehner pushed him even higher.”

“Boehner was the Clinton of this government shutdown crisis—the central figure and the clear winner. Obama barely mattered. He was outthought and outfought at every turn.”

“He took the first step in making significant spending cuts and kept policy riders, opposed by the Dems, in place.”

“He was outnumbered, yet he came out with a deal that, at least initially, appears to have enough votes to pass.”

“He had the most to lose and the most to gain from the deal.”

“Boehner, even though President Obama tried to take credit for it.”

“Obama was an absentee negotiator. How can you win when you aren’t engaged?”


“The citizens [gained the most].”


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, Karen Bass, 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, Marcy Kaptur, 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, Jeff Denham, Charlie Dent, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Darrell Issa, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, 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, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

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