The WonkLine: November 12, 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.



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants to push for a vote on the DREAM Act during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.

“Somos Republicans — a fledging Hispanic GOP group — is protesting the likely appointment of Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) to leadership positions in the next Congress, criticizing them for promoting anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant positions,” Mother Jones reports.

A new study from UCLA shows that “comprehensive immigration reform would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.”


President Obama has not pardoned a single person since he took office, a record that is only slightly more dismal than that of his two predecessors.

Lawyers for impeached Judge Thomas Porteous say he should not be convicted because most of the allegations against him stem from actions he took before he became a federal judge.

Michele Bachmann’s faculty roster for her proposed constitutional classes for incoming Members of Congress includes such legal luminaries as Sean Hannity and the guy who thinks the federal highway system is unconstitutional.


The Los Angeles school board “took a big step forward Tuesday toward launching a new controversial method to evaluate teachers based on the performance of their students.”

As Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) slashes his state’s budget, 59 percent of registered New Jersey voters say not enough money is being spent on education.

Incoming New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black’s education views are a “question mark.”

Climate Change

Rush Limbaugh complained that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave Republicans and Fox News credit for killing climate legislation.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), campaigning to be the House energy committee chair, says his colleagues have practically forgotten that he apologized to BP.

Crude may climb past $100 next year as central banks pump cash into their economies to revive growth,” predict JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Health Care

“Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), outgoing chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, has sent letters to the CEOs of the top 10 for-profit health insurance companies asking them to lower their premiums in light of rising profits.”

“More than 1,100 groups signed a letter distributed Thursday on Capitol Hill that asks House members to immediately pass a childhood nutrition bill when they return next week.”

“The top insurance official in Mississippi said Wednesday that the volume of changes under the federally mandated health care reform are ‘mind boggling’ and partly come from ‘pure socialist-communist ideas.'”


“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has told dozens of former bank officers and directors that it has drawn up lawsuits accusing them of misdeeds such as fraud and breach of fiduciary duty,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

At the G-20 summit in Seoul, President Obama and his South Korean counterpart “were unable to overcome disputes over cars, cattle and domestic politics, potentially killing the biggest bilateral trade deal the U.S. has taken up in more than a decade.”

The Obama administration is reportedly reviewing a tax proposal from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) “that would drop tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans but introduce tax breaks for business.”

National Security

“Supporters of the pro-democracy leader in Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, gathered near her home on Friday as unconfirmed reports circulated that she would be released soon from house arrest.”

“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over seven-hours Thursday in an unusually lengthy but apparently unsuccessful attempt to rekindle moribund Middle East peace talks.”

“Iraq’s parliament achieved an important milestone Thursday, agreeing on who would hold the country’s top leadership spots after more than eight months of acrimonious negotiations.”

LGBT Equality

“The Department of Defense could expedite the release of its internal review of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on sexual preference, according to a source close to discussions of the review.”

“The Pentagon is facing a new legal challenge over its policy on gays serving in uniform. This time it’s the American Civil Liberties Union, suing to change the military’s policy on the amount of separation pay given to service members discharged for being gay.”

“Barclays Plc, Britain’s third- largest bank, is joining Google Inc. and a small number of companies in reimbursing U.S. employees for federal tax they pay on health benefits provided to same-sex domestic partners.”