The WonkLine: May 10, 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.


National Security

Part of President Obama’s plan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden included an assault force large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops.

Iraqi officials said that American requests for Iraq’s government to decide “within weeks” whether U.S. troops should stay beyond a year-end deadline to leave will not be met.

U.S. military officers in Afghanistan have drafted preliminary proposals to withdraw up to 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year.

Health Care

“A three-judge federal appeals panel comprised of two Obama nominees and a Clinton nominees will hear arguments later this morning in two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the national health care law.”

“Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is expected to unveil a budget blueprint Tuesday that leaves Medicare alone.”

“In a move that could absolve health insurers of paying more than $95 million in consumer rebates, nine states are pressing for relief from a federal rule limiting insurers’ profits and administrative costs.”


“A sweeping state education bill that passed the Illinois state Senate unanimously and had the support of teachers unions and education-advocacy groups could be derailed by claims it was altered at the last minute,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Buoyed by what they see as their best opportunity in a decade, education activists are spending millions of dollars and countless hours trying to persuade or pressure lawmakers to approve school tuition vouchers,” according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A new study from the University of Chicago finds that “the quality of relationships among adults and students at a school can turn one school into a safe haven while another languishes as a center of violence.”

LGBT Equality

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has announced he will introduce the first of what are expected to be many amendments attempting to derail the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Following an announcement that the U.S. Navy would allow same-sex marriages in military chapels after DADT’s repeal, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has promised an amendment prohibiting the practice (in accordances with the Defense of Marriage Act).

Hockey player Sean Avery has seen backlash from a major sports management agency for his support of marriage equality, but his team, the New York Rangers, stands with him.

Climate Change

Bill McKibben writes on the costly Mississippi flood, of a “river swelled not just by the power of nature but by the power of man.”

Natural gas fracking “is causing contamination of drinking water,” a report released by the National Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

“The Canadian province of Alberta has suffered its worst oil spill in 35 years” with over a million gallons) spilling from a ruptured pipeline.


FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, “one of the banking industry’s most influential regulators and outspoken critics during the financial crisis,” will step down on July 8.

According to Treasury Department figures, reports of mortgage fraud rose to an all-time high in 2010.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “the Senate Banking Committee is slated to vote Thursday on the nomination of Peter Diamond to join the Federal Reserve Board, but his confirmation by the full Senate still remains doubtful.”