The WonkLine: March 31, 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.


Congressional Republicans and Democrats may have reached an agreement “that would slash federal spending by as much as $33 billion and avert a government shutdown.”

The Ohio legislature voted yesterday “to severely limit the collective bargaining rights of 350,000 public workers, sending a bill that sparked weeks of pro-labor protests to Republican Gov. John Kasich (R).”


President Obama yesterday threatened to veto the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill currently before the House unless an anti-union provision is removed.

Health Care

“A conservative activist group seeking to discredit the Planned Parenthood Federation of America released audio tapes Wednesday that it said contradicts claims the organization made that it provides mammograms.”

“Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Senate’s top health appropriator, warned Wednesday that Republicans can forget about defunding the healthcare reform law on his watch.”

“Prepare to hear a lot (more) about Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for the poor.”


The Los Angeles Times reports that “Republicans are drafting legislation that would require the federal government to develop a plan to add more fencing, sensors, agents and even drones to stop every illegal entry into the United States.”


A Mexican immigrant filed a federal lawsuit against the Denver police for arresting him and accusing him of being undocumented despite the fact that he showed them valid identification.

The Tennessee General Assembly subcommittee passed a controversial immigration reform package yesterday that has business advocates worried.


House Republicans voted yesterday “to revive a school-voucher program for the District of Columbia despite opposition from the mayor, the District’s congressional delegate, teachers and the White House.”

“The KIPP network, one of the fastest-growing and most academically successful charter groups, has received more taxpayer dollars per student than regular public schools,” according to a new study.

The collapse of California budget talks imperils the Golden State’s public colleges.

National Security

Libya’s foreign minister Moussa Koussa resigned yesterday and may announce his defection to support rebels there as early as today. Moussa is the highest ranking Libyan official to resign since the uprising began.


President Obama signed a secret order earlier this month giving the CIA broad authority to help Libyan rebels in their fight against Muammar Qaddafi and feed intelligence to coalition forces for airstrike targets.

Egypt’s military rulers announced an interim constitution yesterday and said presidential elections will be held by November. The military said it will hand over legislative and executive powers after elections have taken place.


Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli really doesn’t want you to ask him about the Declaration of Independence, because that’s a “socialist question.”

Early voters are turning out in droves for the state supreme court election between Gov. Scott Walker ally David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Justice Clarence Thomas’ first opinion of the Supreme Court term was a 5–4 decision saying that a man who wrongly served 14 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit will get nothing and like it.

Climate Change

Skeptical Science unveils its database of Climate Myths from Politicians, and the facts that debunk them.

The Bay Area is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave; Washington rivers are flooding, and tornadoes and storms are hitting Florida.

Michele Bachmann’s latest drilling claims are “ridiculously false.”

LGBT Equality

Civil unions moved forward yesterday in Delaware and are on the table today in Colorado.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still the law of the land; today is Derek Morado’s discharge hearing.

The ACLU is calling upon schools to stop filtering out LGBT content on the web.