The WonkLine: July 7, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security, immigration 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.



Health Care

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Rahm Emanuel endorsed the trigger public option. “‘The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest. The goal is non-negotiable; the path is’ negotiable.

Yesterday, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) guaranteed that health care reform legislation would hit the floor before the August recess. “Clearly,” Baucus said of the bill’s pre-recess timing. “Not a question.”

Third Way’s messaging on health care: “Stable coverage that cannot be taken away from you through life’s ups and downs. Stable costs that won’t eat away an increasing share of your paycheck. Stable quality so you can get the treatment you need, when you need it, and from the doctor you choose.”

National Security

Iran’s top three reformist leaders demanded an end to the heavy crackdown launched by the ruling clerics after the disputed June 12 presidential election, warning that the suppression of protests could “radicalize” the opposition movement, an opposition Web site reported Tuesday.

Responding to National Review’s Andy McCarthy’s wild claims about Chinese Muslim Uighurs, Robert Farley writes that “there was a time at which movement conservatives were mildly skeptical of the claims made in Chinese state media.”

The Washington Times reports that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top deputies have not formally asked for U.S. aid or permission for possible military strikes on Iran’s nuclear program, fearing the White House would not approve, two Israeli officials said.”


The Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Justice is looking into whether large U.S. telecom companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon “are abusing the market power they have amassed in recent years.”

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) said he plans to go much farther than the Treasury Department in trying to rein in credit-rating agencies. “We are going to have to pick that fight up and run. And we will,” he said, noting that he will assemble a task force to study the issue.

Michael Levine and Mark Roe write that “a window of opportunity is opening” for the Obama administration to suggest an increase in the gas tax.


An new Iowa company bid $8.5 million on Agriprocessors, the Kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant that went under last year after a controversial immigration raid removed 389 of its workers.

Hispanic males are now the majority in Maricopa County (AZ) jails due to a series of law enforcement measures that target immigrants and some say have led to rampant racial profiling.

A detained Haitian immigrant who recently ended his hunger strike after being hospitalized and forced fed has detailed how his due process rights were violated by immigration authorities.


Sen. Harry Reid dismissed the coal-friendly climate legislation passed by the House, telling the Las Vegas Review Journal last week, “We have a block of states — Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana — that are very dependent on coal. For example, Indiana is 95 percent dependent on coal. So we have to take all that into consideration. The House didn’t have to do that.”

Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) explained his vote against the American Clean Energy and Security Act: “My final reason for opposing this bill was you, the constituents of New York’s 29th Congressional District. In the week leading up to the vote, our offices received hundreds of phone calls urging a ‘no’ vote. In fact, after we tallied the responses, the ‘vote no’ calls outnumbered the ‘vote yes’ calls by a ratio of 19 to 1.”

“Central and South Texas are in the midst of an epic drought that has sapped soils of their moisture, dried up stock ponds and turned cornfields from green to beige,” and “Central Valley farmers will receive an additional 100,000 acre-feet as part of a water loan to deal with the three-year drought plaguing” California.