The WonkLine: February 11, 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.


“Would today’s tea party have opposed the US Constitution?”

A bill requiring Tea Partying Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to disclose how his office spends its time passed the Virginia Senate by a lopsided bipartisan majority of 27 to 13.

A survey finds that nearly half of African-American college students never have a black professor.

LGBT Equality

The chair of CPAC said “he thinks it will be ‘difficult’ to work with the group in the future.”

“Legalizing gay marriage in Rhode Island could bring the state an additional $1.2 million over a three-year period.”


“Facing recoupment charges after discharge under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a problem that continues to plague many service members.”


The Obama administration released its white paper on reforming the country’s mortgage finance system today, the first step in winding down the government backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

House Republican leaders yesterday “bowed to a revolt from conservative lawmakers and said they would propose deeper budget cuts for the current year than they had planned.”

Yet another poll shows that Americans want to see spending cuts, but aren’t in favor of cutting almost any specific spending.


Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) wants Texas universities to “develop bachelors degrees that cost not more than $10,000 including textbooks.”


College leaders say that “it is hard to fathom” that proposed spending cuts from House Republicans “will not do damage to some student financial aid and other college-related programs.”

The Michigan state board of education passed a proposal yesterday under which “teacher tenure and some state school funding would be based on student achievement,” with the support of the state teachers’ union.

Climate Change

“Tropical Cyclone Bingiza is expected to reach hurricane strength prior to slamming into the southwestern Indian Ocean island of Madagascar later this weekend.”

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Newt Gingrich repeated his call to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Proposals from Republican lawmakers could limit funding for clean energy projects while protecting the profits of fossil fuel companies.”

National Security

“Protesters fanned out to shut off key government buildings in Cairo on Friday as the Egyptian army, under pressure from all sides, issued a statement pledging to guarantee President Hosni Mubarak’s promise to lift emergency law and ensure free elections.” Egyptian opposition leader, Mohammed El Baradei has an op-ed in the New York Times today.  “India and Pakistan announced Thursday that they would resume peace talks that had been stalled since 2008, when Pakistani militants staged coordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”

Health Care

“When Mitt Romney speaks to a convention of conservatives here Friday, he faces a potentially lethal political obstacle.”


“Republicans are ‘just getting started’ clawing back President Obama’s health care reforms and reshaping the dialogue in Washington, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said today at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).”

“As the health care law takes a pounding from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from Republican governors across the country, Obama administration officials are trying to calm concerns that states won’t have the flexibility they need to implement a key part of the the sweeping measure.”


The new Utah immigration bill being considered requires police officers to verify the legal status of people detained for class A misdemeanor and felony offenses if the officer has “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally. Immigration Subcommittee chairman Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) said the electronic employment verification E-Verify program should be made mandatory. New polling of Latinos shows “discontent over the failure of attempts to reform the immigration laws, the issue that 47 percent ranked as their top priority.”