The WonkLine: December 10, 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.


Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) remains supportive of the DREAM Act. saying he was “not going to be spiteful” and vote against it despite the fact that he disagrees the strategy being used to pass it.

Yesterday, the Senate voted to postpone consideration of the DREAM Act, giving themselves a chance to take up a House-passed version of the bill after this week. A new Gallup poll shows 54 percent of Americans said they would vote for the DREAM Act and 42 percent said they would vote against the bill.

National Security

“Imprisoned in China and with close family members forbidden to leave the country, the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an empty chair representing his absence at the prize ceremony.” “British lawmakers pushed through a controversial hike in university tuition fees on Thursday, even as tens of thousands of angry students took to the streets of London and across the nation in protest.” President Obam said yesterday that “he was ‘confident’ that a landmark nuclear arms treaty with Russia would be voted on by US lawmakers before the Christmas break.”

Climate Change

“A tax package currently being negotiated by Senate Democrats is likely to include an extension of an ethanol tax credit at 45 cents per gallon and may include a renewable energy tax grant program.”


Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is blocking the nomination of Scott Doney to be chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “to protest the slow pace of permits for offshore drilling in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

“World leaders need to sink cash into the agricultural sector to stave off productive declines associated with climate change,” the World Bank said yesterday.


“Education officials across the country have replaced the principals and at least half of the staff in about 150 struggling schools to obtain federal aid,” according to data released yesterday.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly approached Geoffrey Canada — the leader of the Harlem Children’s Zone — to be schools chancellor, but was turned down.


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said yesterday that “he is open to the idea of developing more models for turning around low-performing schools, other than those spelled out in the regulations for the School Improvement Grant program.”

LGBT Equality

“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on Friday that he was disappointed ‘but not surprised’ by the Senate vote late Thursday that dimmed chances for repeal this year of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law.”

“Signs look positive for marriage in equality in Maryland now that a majority of senators on a key committee support a bill that would legalize same-sex marriages.”

“A handful of Catholic protesters plans to deliver more than 2,000 controversial DVDs to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis this morning.”


Ten years ago today, the Supreme Court stayed a decision allowing the Florida recount to move forward. Two days later, they would effectively install George W. Bush as the next president.


Pressure is mounting against three federal judges to quit the board of an infamous industry-funded group that provides expense-paid junkets for judges.

Five victims of U.S. torture policy are asking the Supreme Court to revive their lawsuit against the company that arranged for them to be flown out of the country and tortured.

Health Care

“At least 1.5 million people will soon receive notices from employers or insurers that their health plans fall short of meeting a key standard in the new health overhaul law — and by how much.”

“When tensions between the Obama administration and the nation’s health insurers were at their highest earlier this year, Ronald A. Williams, the chief executive of Aetna, stood out as one of the few industry voices that still resonated within the White House.”

“Though still four years away, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says it’s not too soon to start preparing to implement a statewide health insurance exchange.”


The AFL-CIO, the United Steelworkers, the International Association of Machinists and the Communications Workers of America all came out in opposition to President Obama’s proposed free trade agreement with South Korea yesterday.

Bank of America restarted 16,000 foreclosures yesterday “but it may be weeks before it is known whether the bank’s submission of new documents will pass muster with local judges.”

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) yesterday called for a “moon shot” on job creation: “”The goal: create three million new jobs in three years.”