The WonkLine: November 15, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest public policy news. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.


LGBT Equality

“President Barack Obama’s plan to push through a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law banning gays from serving openly in the military during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress met with skepticism from two leading senators on Sunday.”

“The need to shepherd the defense authorization bill through the Senate in the lame-duck session has left the Democratic leadership with a precarious dilemma.”

“A gay conservative group and some Tea Party leaders are campaigning to keep social issues off the Republican agenda.”

Health Care

“The key Senate Democrat who delayed health care reform last year while trying to get Republican buy-in is now facing the uncomfortable reality of his own prediction, leading him to weigh some bipartisan changes to his party’s signature legislation.”

“Leaders and strategists hope a renewed battle over the health overhaul will boost the party’s gains and possibly give it back the White House in 2012.”

“Your employer wants you to stop smoking and lose some weight. And the boss is willing to sweeten the pot if you succeed.”


Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) said that “he wants to work with Democrats on possible federal immigration reform, as long as it’s not ‘fluff.’

Gov.-elect Susana Martinez explained that “one of her first priorities is to revoke the thousands of drivers’ licenses which have been issued by her state to illegal aliens in recent years.”

Arizona State Senate President-elect Russell Pearce “has vowed to continue his immigration campaign to repeal the part of the 14th Amendment that grants birthright citizenship as his singular legislative priority.”

Climate Change

Dust storms scour Iraq, freak floods wreak havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, rising sea levels erode Egypt’s coast, and hotter, drier weather worsens water scarcity in the Middle East, already the world’s most water-short region,” as scientists urge Arab governments to act now against global warming.

“Approved by voters 53% to 47% on Nov. 2,” California’s Proposition 26 that reclassifies industry fees as “taxes” is “aimed at multibillion-dollar statewide issues such as a per-barrel severance fee on oil and a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases.”

“At Republican behest, controversial climate scientist Judith Curry will testify before the House Science and Technology Committee.”

National Security

“Taliban-linked activities claimed the lives of six service members with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Sunday, proving the day as the deadliest one in the current month.”

“Two days after being freed from house arrest, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her aim is for a peaceful revolution in Burma.”

“An Arab League official said Monday that a possible three-month-long temporary freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank would be unlikely to be enough to prompt Palestinian and Arab support for Mideast peace talks.”


When House Republicans return to DC today, “a top priority will be putting a $250 dollar check in the mail to 58 million Social Security recipients,” as there was no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment this year.

Goldman Sachs “has hit a delay in its efforts to win U.S. government approval to pay back a $5 billion investment from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.”

The New York Times notes that banks and hedge funds “are bankrolling other people’s lawsuits…in the hope of sharing in the potential winnings.”


Educators “are hoping to prod the U.S. Department of Education into giving them a reprieve from the provisions [of No Child Left Behind] they see as most onerous, as the prospects for an overhaul of the law by Congress anytime soon remain cloudy.”

Gov.-elect John Kasich’s (R-OH) budget plan “has college presidents bracing for cuts in their state subsidies, which represent roughly one-third of their individual budgets.”

WNYC looks at growing opposition to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s choice for schools chancellor.


How about, instead of fretting about the political blowback from following the Constitution, the Obama Administration could just give Khalid Sheik Mohammed a trial?

Right-wing Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is pushing a bill that will allow state officials to sue the federal government every time an agency takes up a new regulation they don’t like.

The Supreme Court will hand down its first signed opinion of the present term today.