The WonkLine: November 30, 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.


According to a Congressional Budget Office projection, the Obama administration will spend just $12 billion of the $50 billion in funding for helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The latest estimates show that the “widely reviled” Troubled Asset Relief Program is expected to cost $25 billion — far below the original $700 billion outlay.


“Congressional Democrats are ready to test Republican resolve on taxes this week by forcing showdown votes on their proposal to extend middle-class tax cuts,” Bloomberg reports.


Yesterday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated, “For our young people, for our country, for our country’s economy, we desperately need to pass the DREAM Act.” Fifteen protesters face criminal trespass charges after an immigration demonstration in support of the DREAM Act at the San Antonio office of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). A San Antonio professor’s study on House hiring practices found that Republicans have seriously lagged in hiring Latino staffers.

LGBT Equality

“The Pentagon on Tuesday will release its long-anticipated report on how ending the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy banning gays from openly serving in uniform might impact troop readiness and morale.”


“On Monday night, Lady Gaga released a two-minute black-and-white video via YouTube to update her fans on the status of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

“Elton John is set to play a concert at the ‘Green Acres’ estate of Ron Burkle in Beverly Hills to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights.”


According to a new report by the America’s Promise Alliance, the number of high schools known as “dropout factories” fell to “about 1,750 in 2008, from about 2,000 such schools in 2002.”

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg got the necessary state waiver so that publishing executive Cathie Black can head New York City schools after he promised she would appoint a chief academic officer as her deputy.”

“College boards at public and private institutions are still dominated by men.”


Ten years later, Bush v. Gore still stinks as bad as it did the day the Supreme Court vomited it up.

The Supreme Court is very concerned that Arizona law is unfair to billionaires who want to buy public office.

Is there anything Senator-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) doesn’t think is unconstitutional?

Climate Change

Two recent studies published by the Mathematics Research Institute at the University of Exeter highlight the risk that the “compost bomb” of a rapid release of carbon from peatlands could pose in further accelerating global warming.


Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives “are facing the end of history.” “The gulf coast from southern Louisiana to Georgia and the Florida panhandle Tuesday braced for strong thunderstorms, damaging winds and hail.”

National Security

“As Iran and the European Union agreed on Tuesday to a date and time for nuclear talks in Geneva next week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted in a speech that Iran would not give “one iota” in the discussions.”

“A new arms race will erupt if Russia cannot agree with the west about a joint European missile defense program, the Russian president warned today.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood said on Tuesday it might withdraw from Egypt’s parliamentary election after failing to win a single seat in a first round of voting it said was rigged in favor of President Hosni Mubarak’s party.”

Health Care

“A congressional committee is widening its investigation of bare-bones health-insurance policies to encompass potentially hundreds of plans offered by low-wage employers.”

“The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on legislation that would revamp food safety, give significant new authority to the Food and Drug Administration and place new responsibilities on farmers and processors to keep food free from contamination. The Senate began debate on the measure Monday.”

“The U.S. House of Representatives approved by voice vote a measure delaying cuts in Medicare payments to physicians until Jan. 1.”