February 26th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Should Dems try to ram health care reform through with 51 votes?


House Minority Whip Eric Cantor picks up a copy of the Senate's health care reform plan prior to the start of a bipartisan meeting hosted by Pres. Obama. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As predicted, that day-long televised health care summit wasn't much more than political theater.

The Democrats are taking a hard look at using a 51-vote shortcut in the Senate to ram a health care bill through. It's a procedure known as reconciliation and it is supposed to be used only for legislation that affects taxes and the deficit.

Democrats are trying to figure out how the complicated process could work, and whether they even have enough votes in both houses to make it happen.

The plan would be for the House to pass the bill that's already gone through the Senate, and then for both houses to pass a package of changes that mirror the president's plan. Under those rules, the Democrats would only need 51 votes in the Senate.

But there are problems. Plenty of them...

For starters, Senate Democrats aren't even sure if they would have the 51-vote simple majority needed. They could also face a big-time backlash from the public for trying to jam this thing though.

Over in the House - Democrats may not have enough votes either. The one Republican who voted for the health care bill last time already says he'll vote "no," not to mention Democrats facing tough re-election races who may change their votes to "no."

And, abortion might be the biggest obstacle of all. There could be as many as a dozen house Democrats who'd vote against the senate bill because they say it's not strict enough in making sure tax money doesn't pay for abortions.

Here’s my question to you: Should Democrats try to ram health care reform through the Senate with 51 votes?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Democrats • Health care
February 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Single most serious problem facing U.S. today?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been more than two years since I addressed the subject of our broken government on CNN - and in that time, things have gone from bad to worse.

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, you're cordially invited to join me for an hour guaranteed to depress you. Not only is the government broken, the questions about whether it can be fixed are growing larger every day.

Just this week we've talked about:

  • 75 percent of you think federal government officials are dishonest
  • 86 percent of you think the government is broken
  • $25 million of stimulus money spent for airport scanners that sit in storage somewhere - while some of the nation's busiest airports go without them
  • Congress might as well go home. The House has passed 290 bills - the Senate has acted on none of them
  • By 2019, it's estimated the national debt will rise to about $23 trillion dollars - that's more than one-third of the gross domestic product of the entire world
  • At five percent interest, it will cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion a year - without paying a single dime on the debt itself. Just interest.
  • There are tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for Medicare, and the Social Security Trust Fund consists of nothing but IOUs - which we taxpayers are also paying interest on - some trust!

It's a long list, but if you've got an hour to spare tonight, I hope you'll join me because if there's any chance at all to stop this country from circling the drain, it's going to be the average American citizen who ultimately makes it happen.

The Show airs immediately following this broadcast at 7 p.m. ET

Here’s my question to you: What do you consider the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: United States
February 26th, 2010
02:55 PM ET

Cafferty File Special Report

Please tune in to "Broken Government: A Cafferty File Special Report" TONIGHT at 7pm ET.

Jack will take an in-depth look at the many ways our government is broken and whether it’s too late to fix it.

Filed under: Cafferty File