The WonkLine: April 6, 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.


LGBT Equality

Lawmakers challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) want to know how much House Speaker John Boehner plans to spend defending it.

The Office of Personnel Management has extended long-term care insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners for the first time.

A group of military chaplains have come out against religious bigotry, filing a brief against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) in the ongoing federal trial against the law.


“Army children coping with a parent’s long-term deployment — 19 months or more — have lower test scores than their peers, including other military children,” according to a new study.

If the Republican-backed cuts to Pell Grants are actually implemented, “many colleges may have to roll back a portion of the financial-aid offers they have made to students for the coming academic year.”

The latest Republican stopgap spending proposal — which the White House has rejected — includes cuts to history and tech programs.

Health Care

“Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits.”

“The 2012 GOP budget proposal would scrap the healthcare reform law’s insurance subsidies while retaining the deep Medicare cuts that pay for them, sparking cries of outrage from providers.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “touted the help of former Clinton advisor Alice Rivlin — “a great, proud Democrat” — in promoting a key Medicare provision in his budget proposal Tuesday,” but she doesn’t support the final version of his budget.

National Security

A top aide to President Karzai said the Afghan government has been in reconciliation talks with the Taliban for some time. “We’re in touch, we talk all the time,” he said.

Government forces in Yemen opened fire on demonstrators in the city of Taiz yesterday, marking the third straight day of violence there with more than 10 protesters killed and dozens wounded.

Libyan rebels criticized NATO for allegedly not providing effective air support. A top Libyan rebel general threatened to take their case to the UN Security Council.


Researchers say that “descendants of Mexican immigrants in the United States may be making better socioeconomic progress than many studies indicate” due to faulty self-identifying data.

Alabama’s House of Representative approved an Arizona copycat law yesterday in a 73 to 28 vote.

Florida’s Senate’s judiciary committee on approved a bill requiring companies use the federal government’s electronic employment verification program or to request those employees show state-issued identification cards.


Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) “said he opposes House Republican legislation that would supplant the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a commission — making it unlikely that such legislation could pass.”

“The U.S. and Colombia will likely announce an agreement Wednesday on a free-trade deal after several weeks of intensive talks on labor issues,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

House Republicans “upped the ante” yesterday, “signaling that a $40 billion package of cuts might have the makings of a deal to avert a shutdown Friday.”