The WonkLine: December 15, 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.


National Security

“President Obama met for nearly two hours with top national security aides Tuesday to give final approval to a year-end review of his war strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan before a summary of the assessment is publicly released Thursday.”

“A suicide attack killed at least 38 Shiite Muslims and wounded many more at a highly symbolic and emotionally charged mourning ceremony near a mosque in southeastern Iran on Wednesday.”

“Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday, said he will seek to boost mutual trust and understanding and cement trade and economic ties between the two Asian giants during his three days’ stay in India.”

Health Care

“The Justice Department said it would appeal a decision invalidating a core provision of the federal health-care overhaul, the next skirmish in a constitutional struggle likely to reach the Supreme Court before the 2012 presidential election.”

“Declaring that ‘health reform is worth doing’ regardless of what happens with the federal law, an advisory panel appointed by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell recommended on Tuesday steps to meet the law’s requirements and improve health care.”

“Federal regulators have adopted at least 18 new rules since passage of the healthcare reform law eight and a half months ago, according to the Congressional Research Service, most of the time without giving the public much chance to comment ahead of time.”


Federal Reserve officials said yesterday “that signs of economic strength won’t deter them from pumping money into the financial system so long as unemployment remains elevated.”

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is slowing the pace of some investigations and routine inspections as part of a belt-tightening caused by the budget impasse in Congress,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Well Fargo broke with other big banks yesterday by coming out in favor of rules requiring mortgage lenders to hold onto a portion of loans they originate.


The omnibus spending bill released by the Senate Appropriations committee yesterday includes $550 million for a second year of Race to the Top.

The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss writes that Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s (R-FL) school shake-up is “more likely to destroy the public school system than accomplish anything else.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, “as Gov.-elect Jerry Brown prepares to take office, major headwinds are buffeting the biggest component of his upcoming budget: California’s schools.”

LGBT Equality

Nearly eight in 10 Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”

“While the courts continue to debate the legality of same-sex marriage, the battle over gay civil rights is moving into another arena: the classroom.”

“A growing number of companies are covering the extra costs that same-sex couples pay for domestic partner benefits — and even more companies are thinking about it.”


The government needs a warrant before they can force your ISP to turn over your e-mails. Somehow, it took a court decision to figure this out.

Senator-elect Mike Lee’s (R-UT) own father once denounced Lee’s insane plan to eliminate U.S. Senate elections.

Justice Antonin Scalia will give up his last remaining shred to dignity to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).