The WonkLine: March 9, 2011

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.


Climate Change

Today, the U.S. Senate will consider the House GOP’s slash-and-burn budget, which guts the EPA and champions climate denial.

In a disturbing trend, melting ice sheets are becoming the dominant contributor to sea level rise, decades before scientists expected.

New Jersey residents, still drying out from one set of floods, are bracing for more. “I mean if it was every ten years you could cope, but now it just keeps coming sooner and sooner,” one victim said.


Arizona senators killed a wildly-unconstitutional nullification proposal for the second time in a month. Hopefully it is dead for good this time.

The Ninth Circuit will examine whether an Islamic charity should have been given an opportunity to respond to allegations before it was designated a terrorist front by the Treasury Department.

DOJ formally appealed Judge Roger Vinson’s error-laden decision striking down the Affordable Care Act.

National Security

“As world powers debate measures against him, including the creation of a possible no-fly zone to ground his warplanes, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi vowed on Wednesday that Libyans would take up arms to resist such measures.”

“U.S. Vice President Joesph Biden traveled to Russia on Tuesday in a bid to further advance a two-year strengthening in bilateral relations that culminated most recently in a strategic nuclear arms control treaty’s [implementation].”

On Tuesday, “Japan’s No. 2 most powerful elected official called for his nation to develop a nuclear arsenal to respond to the evolving military situations in China, Russia and North Korea.”

LGBT Equality

Roll Call is reporting that Speaker John Boehner is convening a meeting today of the five-member Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG).

A Senate committee on in Colorado “gave initial approval to a civil-unions bill granting same-sex couples some of the rights and responsibilities of traditional marriage.”

“With Governor Chafee set to unveil his first state budget on Tuesday, a key state House of Representatives committee may also take action this week on another closely watched issue: same-sex marriage.”

Health Care

“A year after the passage of President Barack Obama’s landmark health-care law, still-rising health-care costs are worrying insurers even as big carriers report large profits.”

“Some opposition to the Obama administration’s health care reform law is linked to racial bias, according to a study released by the Greenlining Institute on Tuesday.”

“The federal government Tuesday granted Maine a waiver of a key provision in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, citing the likelihood that enforcement could destabilize the state’s market for individual health insurance.”


President Obama “issued a not-too-veiled warning at Republican budget cutters Tuesday and characterized any reductions in money for education as irresponsible and harmful to the long-term health of the nation’s economy.”

The Florida legislature convened yesterday and “quickly set its sights on measures that would link the pay of new teachers to student performance.”

The Idaho legislature yesterday approved legislation “to strip public school teachers of many of their collective bargaining rights while protesters in six states rallied against Republican efforts to curb union power.”


More than half the children in California are Latinos, according to new census statistics that show that barely one in four Californians under age 18 are non-Hispanic whites.

The Utah Senate passed a bill to allow Utahns to bypass the immigration process by sponsoring immigrants who want to live, work or study here.

A recall drive against SB-1070 sponsor and Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce (R) is progressing in his west Mesa district.


The White House announced yesterday that President Obama will “veto a pair of bills from House Republicans that would eliminate relief programs for homeowners.”

Americans reject Republican efforts to curb bargaining rights of unions whose power they say is dwarfed by corporations,” a new Bloomberg pollfinds.

The AARP yesterday sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development, charging that reverse mortgages, which HUD regulates, “are pushing older homeowners into foreclosure.”