The WonkLine: November 22, 2010

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

The report of a working group Secretary of Defense Robert Gates created to “research the ramifications for the Defense Department if the law banning gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military is repealed will be released to Congress and the public Nov. 30, Defense Department officials announced here today.”

“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday that Iowa voters likely launched a national movement when ousting three state Supreme Court justices who agreed with a decision to strike a ban on gay marriage.”


“A new poll finds that the majority of Australians support marriage equality, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor party remain opposed to the change for now.”

Health Care

“Huge budget shortfalls are prompting a handful of states to begin discussing a once-unthinkable scenario: dropping out of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor.”

“The cost to employers of providing health benefits soared 6.9 percent on average this year, according to a national survey released last week, an increase some experts say was driven by the growing use of expensive imaging devices in hospitals and an expanding population of aging and obese patients suffering from chronic conditions.”

“Eight years after Oregon voters crushed a proposal for universal health care at the polls, reformers are quietly preparing for another run at the issue in Salem.”


ProPublica looks at the rocky road ahead for the DREAM Act.

Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey has announced plans to file legislation that would mirror Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB1070.


A Virginia state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would adopt Price William county’s immigration policy statewide. The county’s policy, passed in October 2007, requires local police to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest.

National Security

“U.S. diplomats, intelligence officers and other officials have rushed to Asia for consultations following North Korea’s claim to have secretly constructed a uranium enrichment facility.” “Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed to NATO leaders that Europe be divided into sectors of military responsibility to better protect the continent from missile attack.” “The Palestinians may reject resuming peace talks with Israel due to proposed U.S. incentives to Israel, a Palestinian official said Sunday.”


“Ireland has formally applied for a rescue package worth more than $100 billion, after months of trying to survive its financial crisis with austerity measures and strict budgetary planning,” the New York Times reports.

Treasury Secretary Geithner told said over the weekend that “the Obama administration would oppose any effort to strip the Federal Reserve of its mandate to pursue full employment”; Geithner also “warned Republicans against politicizing the central bank.”

“Think you’ve read the worst about foreclosures? Read this.”

Climate Change

The Pacific Council on International Policy has urged Incoming California governor Jerry Brown to create a “climate risk council” that would help California adapt to the effects of global warming.


Scientists estimate that CO2 emissions from burning coal, oil and gas will reach their highest levels in history this year.

U.S. climate scientists today launched a new website aimed at informing the public about global warming.


“For-profit colleges that pay recruiters based on the number of students they sign up may lose access to U.S. government student aid,” Deputy Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal told Bloomberg.

“Twelfth graders’ reading and mathematics scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have improved only modestly in the past four years,” Education Week reports.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan: stop paying teachers like “interchangeable widgets.”


How the Supreme Court and Native corporations saved Sen. Lisa Murkowski (I-AK).

Today, “we’ll learn whether the Minnesota Supreme Court will acquiesce to the petition the Republican Party filed last week and hold hearings today at 2:30 p.m. that, the Democrats allege, could delay the state-mandated gubernatorial recount.”

“A federal judge has rebuked a ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that victims of lead poisoning may sue former manufacturers of lead used in paint — without determining which manufacturer produced the lead the victim ingested.”