The WonkLine: May 13, 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, and subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, you can now follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.



National Security

On a visit to Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Pope told the Palestinians that they had a right to a sovereign homeland “in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders.”

Maureen Dowd makes the point that there’s really no one less qualified to accuse others of making Americans less safe than Dick Cheney.

Reuters reports that the U.S. won election to the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time on Tuesday, joining 17 other nations picked for the body, after the Obama administration ended a U.S. policy of boycotting it.


The Hill reports that “House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders on Tuesday night announced a new agreement on a contentious climate change bill, assuaging the concerns of enough committee Democrats to get the bill out of committee.”

Former President Jimmy Carter “who presided over the oil crisis of 1979, told Congress Tuesday that America’s energy challenges are deeper and more urgent today than when he was president, but the solutions are the same.”

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has found that a “proposed energy efficiency goal would save Georgia $6.3 billion in costs and create 9,000 jobs over the next decade.”

Health Care

During yesterday’s roundtable on financing health care reform, the Senate Finance Committee considered different proposals for plugging the “$90 billion health care hole.”

In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-CA), the Blue Dog Coalition asked “to begin a dialogue with us to exchange ideas and to open up your deliberations to the diverse membership of your committees in advance of beginning the process of drafting legislation.”

Norman Orenstein: the “conditions seem right for some type of health reform to pass.”


“The addition of gun language to the bipartisan credit card legislation in the Senate has thrown the first roadblock in front of a bill that appeared to be cruising to President Obama‚Äôs desk.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) added an amendment to the bill “that would allow people to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.”

According to the latest data from RealtyTrac, “foreclosures in April exceeded even March’s blistering pace with a record 342,000 homes receiving notices of default, auction notices or undergoing bank repossessions.”

Coberly at Angry Bear finds the good news in yesterday’s Social Security trustees’ report.