The WonkLine: March 29, 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.



President Barack Obama stated yesterday that although he’s hopeful an immigration overhaul bill will be able to pass Congress soon, he does not have the administrative power to suspend deportations.

Foreign spouses of American gays and lesbians will reportedly be allowed to apply for green cards while courts weigh the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

CNN reports that “a 4-year-old U.S. citizen who was unable to enter into the country this month because of a possible communications mix-up will attempt the journey again on Tuesday.”

Health Care

“Trying to thwart a Republican repeal of the health reform law’s 1099 tax reporting requirements, Senate Democrats are working on an amendment that could kill the proposal down the road.”

“Gov. Jan Brewer’s office is open to restoring medical transplant coverage for low-income patients, possibly as part of her effort to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program.”

“Raising Medicare’s eligibility age by two years would save the federal government $7.6 billion but those costs—and more—would shift to others, according to a report out today.”

Climate Change

The Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity hopes the U.S. Senate votes to deny global warming and block carbon pollution rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

On Wednesday, the Tea Party House will vote on H.R. 872, to prevent the EPA from keeping pesticides out of streams and rivers.

Warren Buffett is a coal billionaire.

National Security

“Just as the debt debate ramps up on Capitol Hill, the lead role the United States is playing in the military action against Libya threatens to scramble an emerging consensus over the need to trim defense to reduce the deficit.”

Syrian state-run television reports that President Bashar Assed has accepted the resignation of the Cabinet.

“Egypt’s military command said on Monday that the ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, was prohibited from leaving the country, and that it would soon lift a detested emergency law.”

LGBT Equality

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced they will allow Americans’ same-sex spouses from abroad to apply for green cards while the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act is in doubt.

Log Cabin Republicans continue to press their case against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, demanding the policy be ended by court order immediately.

U.S. Catholic Bishops insist they should have the right to discriminate against LGBT people in housing.


“The five justices in the majority in Citizens United, last year’s campaign finance blockbuster, appeared poised on Monday to strike down an Arizona law that provides matching funds to candidates who accept public financing.”

The Wisconsin “Justice Department is asking a judge to vacate a temporary restraining order preventing the secretary of state from publishing the collective bargaining law.”

The Wisconsin Justice Department announced yesterday that “a former prosecutor who sent racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim will not face criminal charges.”


“The District of Columbia’s Board of Education will hold a hearing next week on irregularities in public school test scores,” after USA Today reported that tests in D.C. schools “showed a pattern of unusually high numbers of answers that had been changed from wrong to right.”

“The share of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants, which go to financially needy students, at many of the nation’s wealthiest institutions has remained relatively flat in the past five years,” according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis.

“Seattle’s voters will decide in November whether to expand the the Families and Education Levy by nearly doubling the amount of taxes people are paying,” the Post-Intelligencer reports.


House Republicans plan to release their plan for winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac today, and “to some degree, the GOP is backing away from calls from some of the party’s members for a rapid elimination of Fannie and Freddie.”

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) signed a bill yesterday “that will lead the state to pay fewer weeks of unemployment benefits next year than any other state.”

Democratic members of Indian’s state legislature will return to the state after they “wrung compromises in Republican-sponsored bills they see as part of a national push to strip U.S. public sector unions of bargaining rights.”