The WonkLine: April 26, 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.



Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in an interview with ABC yesterday that “Republicans should consider President Obama’s proposals to cut tax breaks for oil and gas companies.”

After donating more to Democrats in 2008, hedge fund managers “have turned their backs on the party and are actively supporting Republicans.”

“The share of renters who spend more than half their income on housing is at its highest level in half a century,” according to a new study from Harvard University.

Climate Change

“A tornado destroyed 50 to 80 houses and killed at least two people in an Arkansas town on Monday and floods caused at least three deaths in the state as storms continued to lash the region,” authorities said.

“Intensified onshore oil drilling in North America pushed oilfield services giant Halliburton Co. to record first-quarter revenue, as well as profits that nearly doubled.”

” Fresh off a vote in the House of Representatives to substitute ideology for science, Members of Congress returned home to Texas and the Southwest to find the most severe drought in more than 100 years.”

LGBT Equality

Responding to a vicious video-taped beating of Chrissy Lee Polis, hundreds rallied at a Maryland McDonald’s last night against trans violence.

When asked about closeted news anchors, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said, “If you’re gay, you have a responsibility to come out.”

Tennessee’s House has passed a bill that would nullify Nashville’s recently passed sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination protections.


Maine Gov. Paul LePage doubles-down on his opposition to child labor laws. “”I went to work at 11 years old,” he said at a town hall meeting on Friday. “I became governor. It’s not a big deal.”

The recount of ballots in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election begins tomorrow.

Turns out that opponents of birthright citizenship have been massively misquoting one of the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment in order to advance their unconstitutional agenda.

National Security

The Syrian Army yesterday “stormed the restive city of Dara’a with tanks and soldiers and helped detain dozens in towns across the country…in an escalation of the crackdown on Syria’s five-week-old uprising.”

Yemen’s opposition coalition accepted a proposal for a transfer of power, “bringing the country closer to a resolution of months of political turmoil and countless demonstrations calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.”

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that more Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan than approve.


In order to comply with Title IX requirements regarding sports teams, “many institutions have resorted to subterfuge to make it look as if they are offering more spots to women.”

Investment managers for Texas’ teacher retirement fund “received more than $8.2 million in bonus payments this year, more than double what top employees in every other state agency combined have received since 2007.”

“The for-profit higher education industry spent $8.1 million on lobbying activities in 2010, up from $3.3 million the year before,” according to an analysis by The Huffington Post of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano affirmed that local governments cannot decide on their own to “exclude themselves” from its fingerprint-checking immigration database.

A banner strung across the North Ave. bridge in Georgia that refers to a local Ku Klux Klan group that supports the Arizona immigration copycat bill reads: “KKK Supports HB87. Gov. Deal, Do You?

A veteran police officer in Alaska was jailed after authorities accused him of passport fraud, using a fake identity and being an undocumented immigrant.

Health Care

“A few states legislatures are considering dropping mandatory benefits that are not included in the essential benefits package that HHS is creating.”

“Sensing a political opportunity, it appears Democratic operatives are going to keep pounding the Medicare drum as long as the beat keeps resonating.”

In Vermont, “the Democratic-controlled Senate on Monday overcame Republican objections to give initial approval to a bill that would create health-insurance exchanges.”