The WonkLine: November 4, 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.


The Federal Reserve, in an attempt to boost a “disappointingly slow” economic recovery, “said it will buy $600 billion of U.S. government bonds over the next eight months to drive down interest rates and encourage more borrowing and growth.”

Flight attendants at Delta Airlines voted against unionizing yesterday, electing not to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.


Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met yesterday “with homeowner advocates and people who have struggled to get mortgage modifications from banks participating in the administration’s anti-foreclosure program.”


Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) indicated that, under his leadership, the House Judiciary would “enact policies that will better secure our border and discourage illegal immigration, human smuggling and drug trafficking.” The Missouri Supreme Court is taking up the case of an undocumented woman from Guatemala who got caught in an immigration raid and says she did not consent to her son’s adoption by a southwest Missouri couple. Arizona state Senate Republicans elected Russell Pearce (R), sponsor of SB-1070, to run the chamber for the next two years as Senate president.


The Obama Administration forgets which side its on in an important church/state separation case. For the first time in 30 years, there will be fewer women in the next Congress than there are in the current one. Car companies are seeking immunity from state laws protecting consumer safety. And the Roberts Court could give it to them.

LGBT Equality

“Marriage Equality in New Hampshire is likely in peril now that the New Hampshire Legislature is overwhelmingly Republican.”


“Despite the loss of three judges who voted to allow same-sex marriage in the state of Iowa, it does not appear that the issue will be coming up for a vote any time soon.”

“The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives may have some far-reaching implications for health care for people with HIV or AIDS.”

Health Care

“The Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives means Minnesota U.S. Rep. John Kline will hold a key position in efforts to dismantle the federal health reform law.”

“Nearly all employees view their health benefits as just as important as their salary, and 43% worry these benefits will deteriorate under health reform, according to a survey by Mercer, a benefits consulting firm.”

“The pharmaceutical industry hopes to hold on to concessions it won from Democrats during their recent brief reign in Congress, while benefiting from antiregulatory sentiment among Republicans who captured the House, industry lobbyists said.”


According to Bloomberg News, for-profit colleges “are likely to get help from Republicans to ease limits on federal grants and loans that provide the bulk of education companies’ revenue.”

Will likely incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner be good for education?

The Quick and the Ed looks at how state level races will affect education reform: “New Governors in the Race to the Top states will need to determine how if at all they will change their state’s implementation of their RTT application.”

Climate Change

“Explosive levels of methane gas forced the evacuation” of Massey Energy’s deadly Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia on Monday, and the Labor Department asked a judge to shut down Massey Energy’s Freedom Mine in Kentucky on Wednesday.


“The coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh, already battered by heavy rains that have claimed 26 lives so far, is now threatened by a cyclonic storm” and “Jamaica and Haiti, both still reeling from natural disasters, braced for another one from Tropical Storm Tomas.”

“The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction, and I think one of the things that’s very important to me is not to have us ignore the science,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference yesterday.

National Security

“As Republicans prepare to assert new authority in Congress, America’s overseas trading partners worry that Washington’s political upheaval may pose fresh challenges to the global economy.” “After a season of bitter and widespread protests over austerity measures to address its financial crisis, Greece faced new turmoil on Wednesday as the authorities investigated an elaborate bomb plot in which relatively mild explosive devices were sent to embassies in Athens as well as to the leaders of Italy and Germany.” “One of two mail bombs sent from Yemen last week was defused only 17 minutes before it was set to explode, the French interior minister said today.”