The WonkLine: July 15, 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.



Climate Change

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced she plans to introduce her version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act immediately following the summer recess, and “predicted she would have at least one Republican co-sponsor on her bill.”

Yesterday, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) “organized an hour-long meeting between moderate Senate Democrats and a handful of House lawmakers who played a key role in passing House climate change legislation last month.”

Senate Agriculture Committee chair Tom Harkin told reporters that clean energy legislation needs “to have more cash emission credits” for agriculture offsets “to win his support.”


In a new report, a coalition of investors, analysts and ex-regulators criticize the Obama administration’s proposal to give the Federal Reserve the role of systemic risk regulator. The group instead “calls for the creation of an independent body to police risks across the financial sector.”

House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) said that he and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) “are close to agreeing on the derivatives section of a financial services regulation bill being hammered out.”

Calculated Risk notes that the Obama administration is considering a plan that would allow delinquent homeowners to surrender ownership of their homes, but continue to rent the property for a few years.

Health Care

Politico is reporting that three Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee — Schumer, Menendez, and Stabenow — “are announcing an aggressive push to make health insurers absorb as much as $100 billion of the cost of reform.

“Senate GOP leaders have resisted meddling in health care talks between four of their own and the Democratic majority, largely because they are confident that a broad bipartisan deal isn’t going to emerge from the talks.”

According to a new report, “health care costs for employers who cover health insurance for workers will increase 9% in 2010 — well ahead of general price inflation and workers’ earnings.”


Massachusetts’ new state budget will cut health care coverage for approximately 30,000 taxpaying legal immigrants who also don’t qualify for Medicaid or other federal aid.

The Department of Homeland Security has established new standards for accommodating young undocumented immigrant minors who came to the U.S. without guardians, creating tension with Health and Human Services, which believes that law enforcement standards should apply equally to all undocumented immigrants — regardless of age.

A drop in California’s immigrant population may cost the state one of its federal House of Representatives seats after next year’s census results come out.

National Security

The BBC reports that China has urged its citizens in Algeria to take extra care, after reports that a militant group might take revenge for the recent deaths of Muslim Uighurs.

VOA News reports that “a group of former Israeli soldiers says the military used reckless force during the fighting in Gaza earlier this year, resulting in unnecessary deaths and damage.”

The LA Times reports that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “decision in recent weeks to so stridently support the nation’s controversial president after a disputed election has dramatically changed his image among his people, setting in motion an unpredictable series of events that could fundamentally change the Islamic Republic.”