The WonkLine: February 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.




The Treasury Department has reached a deal “to take a stake of 30 to 40 percent in Citigroup as part of a third bailout of the embattled bank.”

The federal insurance fund protecting bank deposits “is being drained by a sharp rise in bank failures and has dwindled to its lowest level since 1993“; in response, the FDIC may double the fees it charges banks.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “is pledging to refuse campaign contributions from banks in the wake of their resistance to a mortgage bill that she considers a top priority.”


George Will lashes out at New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin for “meretricious journalism” in a column that attempts to justify his significant factual errors.

In an interview, Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt defended George Will, saying he is simply “drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject,” and calling critics “irresponsible.”

Power Shift 2009 begins today in Washington, with speakers from Nancy Pelosi and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Van Jones and Billy Parish greeting “nearly ten thousand students from across the country.”

National Security

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan plan to hold a regular “trilateral meeting of allies in the seven-year-old Afghan war.”

President Obama issued a directive outlining the plans for his National Security Council, which “is by far the most expansive” of any other president because it deals with “economic, climate, energy and cyber-threats.”

With a newly funded, 18-acre training site, Palestinian forces are being trained by the United States to increase security in the region. The U.S. hopes to have a “well-trained battalion based in each of eight West Bank cities.”

Health Care

The Obama administration “will move to rescind a controversial rule that allows health-care workers to deny abortion counseling or other family-planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs.”

The health benefits for retired autoworkers “may be the envy of most Americans,” but it’s a deal “that’s not likely to last long” after GM announced a $30.9 billion loss for 2008.

Medical research institutions “scored a major coup” with $10.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health in the stimulus bill, “but their advocates are not stopping there.”