The WonkLine: April 1, 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.

Health Care

“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says patient outcomes in the United States are like those in ‘a developing country’ — and that they’ll stay that way if the health care reform law is repealed.”

“The Obama administration proposed long-awaited regulations on Thursday encouraging doctors and hospitals to band together, coordinate care and cut costs. “


Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “said late Thursday that the Senate will directly take up H.R. 4, the House’s 1099 repeal bill, on Tuesday, with debate beginning at 11 a.m.”


The Chamber of Commerce is very, very angry that President Obama nominated John McConnell to the federal bench.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s ally on the Supreme Court, Justice David Prosser, just lost the co-chair of his reelection campaign. Former Gov. Patrick Lucey cited Prosser’s “disturbing distemper” and his lack of impartiality as his reason for abandoning the Prosser campaign

President Obama also nominated openly gay attorney Alison Nathan to a federal trial court in New York yesterday, making her Obama’s third openly gay nominee.


Immigration rights advocates on called on President Obama to use executive authority to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants being deported, and vowed a city-by-city campaign to press the issue.


The Arizona Republic reports that “Other states may have learned from Arizona’s mistake: The expected copy-cat immigration laws have not — so far — materialized.”

According to new Department of Labor statistics Latinos earn less than whites or African Americans.


“An education reform bill that makes it easier for school boards to fire poor performing teachers was approved on Thursday by the Oklahoma state Senate,” sending it to Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

The accreditor for the University of Phoenix — a for-profit college — is “intensifying a review of [the school’s] recruiting and admissions practices.”

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “will open an investigation to review Yale’s policies for dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault. The investigation comes in response to a Title IX complaint filed against the University.”

National Security

Another senior Libyan government official, Ali Abdussalam el-Treki, a former foreign minister and a former UN ambassador, defected to Egypt yesterday, “stirring talk of others to follow and a crackdown to stop them.”


NATO has warned Libyan rebels not to attack civilians as they fight government forces. “We will be compelled to defend civilians, whether pro-Qaddafi or pro-opposition,” a senior Obama official said.

It appears the Bahraini government has successfully cracked down — sometimes violently — on protesters there demanding reform. A state-run newspaper has declared the Persian Gulf island “back on track.”


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payrolls grew by 216,000 last month and the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.8 percent.

Last night, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) “signed a bill that limits collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans,” but “opponents of the bill said they will seek the 230,000 signatures needed to put a referendum [to overturn the law] on the November ballot.”

“Boeing received at least $5.3bn in US subsidies that helped it launch its groundbreaking 787 Dreamliner passenger jet much faster than it could otherwise,” the World Trade Organization ruled yesterday.

Climate Change

Southern California is baking in a record heat wave, tornadoes are battering Florida, and major flooding is hitting Washington state.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced legislation that “would require lease sales for offshore oil exploration, open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, mandate action on onshore drilling permits and block EPA climate regulations.”

Dr. Kerry Emanuel offered a valorous defense of science at yesterday’s joke of a climate change hearing by the House Science Committee.

LGBT Equality

After more than five hours of testimony, a bill to support civil unions failed in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee.

At his Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell discharge hearing yesterday, Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado was retained and allowed to continue serving.

A new Institute of Medicine report shows LGBT health has been grossly understudied and calls for data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity.