The WonkLine: January 27, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below.



Health Care

The Senate will continue debating SCHIP expansion today and is expected to pass the legislation later this week. Yesterday, Republican lawmakers tried to slow momentum for expanding the program.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reiterated her support for passing comprehensive health care reform this year, just days after Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) suggested that an incremental approach to covering the uninsured would be better.

A new Commonwealth Fund study “finds that when physicians in hospitals use health information technology (health IT) to its full potential there are fewer deaths, fewer complications, and lower health care costs.”

National Security

President Obama chose Arabic satellite TV network al-Arabiya for his first formal television interview, “delivering a message to the Muslim world that ‘Americans are not your enemy.”’

The Washington Post reports that European leaders are “willing to help the Obama administration empty the prision at Guantanamo bay.”

While the debate over closing Guantanamo rages, “an equally difficult problem now confronts the Obama administration in the 600 prisoners packed into a cavernous, makeshift prison on the American air base at Bagram in Afghanistan.”


According to an Associated Press report, “At banks that are receiving federal bailout money nearly nine out of every 10 of the most senior executives from 2006 are still on the job.”

Yesterday, employers nationwide announced plans to cut 55,000 jobs, “a staggering one-day toll that highlighted how quickly layoffs are accelerating.”

The Tax Policy Center issued a report card for the tax provisions in the stimulus bill; the highest grade is a B+ for the ‘Making Work Pay’ tax credit.


A new climate change report finds “current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet.”

The time for denial, delay and dispute is over,” Todd Stern, Hillary Clinton’s new climate envoy, told State Department employees yesterday.

The Chinese government plans to “subsidize purchases of clean-energy vehicles for public fleets in 13 cities to help the automobile industry develop green technology.”