The WonkLine: March 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.


Wisconsin Republicans used some procedural gamesmanship last night to pass their bill stripping public workers of collective bargaining.

The Iowa House last night began debating a Wisconsin-style bill removing bargaining rights from its public employees. Democrats who control the state senate said they won’t consider the bill.


“Two-thirds of the Senate freshmen are millionaires, while about 40 percent of the 96 new House members this year are millionaires,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


Justice Scalia is really, really good at writing snarky opinions, and really, really bad at convincing his colleagues to join them.

DOJ formally requested that the Eleventh Circuit hear its appeal of Judge Roger Vinson’s error-laden health care opinion on an expedited basis.

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would expressly forbid gender discrimination, are making a new push to revive it.

National Security

“France is formally recognizing the Libyan opposition’s Interim Governing Council as the ‘legitimate’ representative of the Libyan people — the first country to do so.”


An advisor to King Mohammed VI of Morroco said yesterday that his country has a “historical opportunity” to speed up reforms and will likely avoid the upheaval that has confronted other nations in North Africa.

“The Dalai Lama said on Thursday he would step down as Tibet’s political leader, a move seen as transforming the government-in-exile into a more assertive and democratic body in the face of Chinese pressure.”

LGBT Equality

“In a closed-door meeting with gay advocates, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pledged on Wednesday to deploy his own political popularity and prestige to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York.”

Yesterday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) “pledged at least $1 million to help defeat Republicans who favor same-sex marriage and assist the campaigns of Democrats who oppose it.”

“Supporters of a bill to allow same-sex marriages in Maryland fended off several amendments Wednesday in the House of Delegates that could have sunk the legislation but said it was unclear whether they would have enough votes to pass it.”

Health Care

“The Obama administration has asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite consideration of the health care reform law — the second step in a process set in motion by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson.”


“A conservative budget expert estimated Wednesday that the health reform tax on insurance plans could raise family premiums by $5,000 over a decade, just as insurers are ramping up their efforts to get the tax nixed.”

“Republicans on a second House panel with oversight power are investigating waivers the Obama administration has awarded to more than a thousand organizations for a provision of the healthcare reform law.”


“More than three-quarters of the nation’s public schools could soon be labeled ‘failing’ under the federal No Child Left Behind Act,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said yesterday

Florida legislators yesterday “dropped from a larger bill a provision that would have allowed individuals to carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses in the state.”

When Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) says that concessions by school employees would have prevented cuts in school programs last year, he’s lying.


While accepting an award from NCLR, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) stated, “Lazy people don’t immigrate. I mean, who gets up and goes to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and they don’t have any contacts?” The Nebraska legislature halted its Arizona copycat immigration law by voting not to advance any immigration bills. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released a report which found that the U.S. “risks falling behind in the global race for talent” if it doesn’t enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Climate Change

A strong stormfront brings severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding to eastern United States, from the South to northern Ohio.

“The U.S. solar power sector grew 67 percent in 2010 but still lagged European markets by a wide margin in installing solar systems.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said Wednesday that he’s “almost certain” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) will support his rollback of EPA climate rules.