The WonkLine: January 31, 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.


National Security

CFR’s Steven Cook writes that “The end of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt portends fundamental change throughout the Middle East and the end of the American era in the region.”

The leader of Tunisia’s Islamist movement Ennahda, banned under ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, returned to his homeland after a 22-year exile in London.

Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

Health Care

“U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a Reagan appointee who sits with senior status in the Northern District of Florida, is expected to rule Monday on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

“The Idaho attorney general has concluded that efforts to reject federal health care reform through the 18th-century doctrine of nullification are unconstitutional.”

“Financially strapped governors, Congress and the Obama administration could be headed for a showdown over the Medicaid health care program that covers 48 million poor, disabled and elderly people nationwide.”


How badly will the ongoing protests in Egypt rattle global markets?

President Obama this week “will ask Congress to permanently eliminate capital gains taxes on certain investments made by small businesses.”

CNN Money’s Chris Isidore: “There are two problems with the jobs recovery to date. Employers haven’t added enough jobs. And those they have added aren’t particularly good ones.”


The sponsor of Florida’s immigration law “retreated substantially from an Arizona-style proposal, raising the possibility that law enforcement officers could only check a person’s immigrant status if he or she is being investigated for criminal wrongdoing.”

El Paso’s four highest-ranking elected officials said Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is turning Texas into an outcast by elevating immigration issues to an emergency level.

After the family of a garbage collector was awarded more than $1.4 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, attorneys for Republic Waste Services are arguing that the amount should be much less since the victim was an undocumented immigrant.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) publicly demanded that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) “use his coming state budget to reverse a rule that protects long-serving teachers from layoffs, regardless of merit.”

In his State of the Union, President Obama called for ROTC programs to be allowed back on college campuses, but even if they’re allowed, will ROTC bother to show up?

According to a new study “students who receive grants as their primary form of financial aid learn more than students who receive mostly loans.”


Republican Judge Roger Vinson is expected to become the second federal judge to strike down part of the Affordable Care Act today. At least 14 judges have dismissed challenges to this law, so a decision striking down health reform is exceedingly unlikely to be upheld.

Right-wing lawmakers appear to be engaged in a contest to see who can pass the most unconstitutional bill. The Missouri House is now the front-runner.

The French constitutional council rejected a claim that the French constitution requires marriage equality. France already offers civil unions to gay couples.