The WonkLine: January 25, 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.



Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street banks “are reporting huge profits and awarding hefty bonuses again even as the government remains on the hook for tens of billions of dollars of their debt,” McClatchy reports.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which is investigating the 2008 financial meltdown, “referred a handful of cases involving potential wrongdoing to the Justice Department.”

The Obama administration and the Chamber of Commerce put their differences aside to promote the South Korea Free Trade Agreement.


Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) school voucher plan may not pass constitutional muster with the Florida Supreme Court.

More than 7,000 students in the Miami-Dade school system are now taking classes using a computer, with no teacher, thanks to Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment, which was passed in 2002.

Education Week’s Alyson Klein provides a State of the Union education cheat sheet.


The Supreme Court delivered a double smackdown to the right-wing Sixth Circuit yesterday, unanimously reversing the ultra-conservative lower court’s decisions in favor of sexually assaulted in prison.

President Obama will nominate veteran Supreme Court litigator Donald Verrilli as the next Solicitor General of the United States.

Missouri GOPers are joining the rush of right-wing state lawmakers trying to consolidate their recent election victory by making it harder for Democratically leaning demographics to vote.


Politico reports that “Latinos would receive an outsize benefit under the new health reform law that House Republicans voted to repeal last week, but analysts say many Latinos don’t realize the benefit is available.”

A Wyoming House committee rejected a bill yesterday that would have cracked down on undocumented immigrants and people who employ them in the state.

Lawmakers have scheduled a February 2nd hearing for a proposal one Indiana state senator says would lead to an Arizona-style crackdown on immigrants in Indiana.

Health Care

“As reproductive health advocates brace for a wave of state-level abortion restrictions, they also see a glimmer of hope in a little-noticed health reform provision: increased Medicaid access to family planning and contraceptives.”

“With Senate Dems threatening to force Republicans to vote on whether to repeal individual popular provisions in the health reform law, Senate GOPers are mulling a response: Aides say they may retaliate by demanding that Democrats vote on other tax-related individual provisions in the law that Republicans can paint as ‘job killers.'”

“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) vowed Monday to leverage the ‘biggest and the most pro-life freshman class in memory” to institute a “permanent government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion.'”

Climate Change

Much of Canada has experienced “freakishly” warm weather, nearly 40 degrees above normal for over a month.

“With the effects of global warming already manifest,” a UN official told CBS News, “countries need to improve disaster preparation even as they negotiate to cut emissions that cause the problem in the first place.”

“At a time where the massive Larsen B Ice Shelf in Antarctica seems intact one day and then collapses into the sea the next, the system of continuous, reliable satellite observation of Earth is at risk, with some aging satellites in dire need of replacement.”

National Security

“A billionaire businessman and the chosen candidate of Shiite group Hezbollah was named as the new Prime Minister of Lebanon on Tuesday, as angry Sunnis staged nationwide demonstrations against his candidacy.”

“Egyptian democracy activists gathered to protest in Cairo and at least 3 other Egyptian cities today, taking inspiration from the popular uprising that toppled the Ben Ali in Tunisia.”

“The leader of the African Union heads to Ivory Coast Tuesday in an attempt to mediate the country’s political crisis.”

LGBT Equality

Yesterday, the Wyoming House “passed a bill to ban recognition of out of state marriage and civil unions by a 32-27 vote.” The bill now goes to the State Senate, which has a 23 to 7 Republican majority.

“An Iowa House committee has approved a measure calling for a referendum on a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.”

“Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will sign a bill that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions next Monday, ChicagoPride.com reported.”