The WonkLine: September 1, 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

Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) on health reform: “This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) “says a health care overhaul will happen this year even if Republicans back out of bipartisan talks under growing public pressure and that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy could help hold together a compromise deal.”

The New York Times asks, “Would Tort Reform Lower Costs?


The IRS “is shifting audits of wealthy Americans suspected of offshore tax evasion to an elite division that usually examines businesses,” Bloomberg reports. The shift puts individuals suspected of tax evasion under the unit “with the most experience…untangling complex cross-border business structures.”

According to a new report from the National League of Cities, “more than nine out of 10 cities are slashing spending this year as the recession wreaks havoc on their sales and income tax revenue.”

At Econbrowser, Menzie Chin looks at the lasting legacy of the Bush tax cuts.

Climate Change

“A voracious 6-day-old wildfire” in southern California that has destroyed more than 50 buildings and churned through more than 105,000 acres of mountainous brush showed only small signs of slowing Monday, and fire officials offered little hope of containment as long as hot, dry conditions continued.

Officials and activists are meeting with the public in North Dakota, Delaware, Ohio, and Arkansas about the promise of clean energy jobs, even as Big Oil barbecues in South Carolina are “totally opposed to this energy cap and tax business.”

Bonner & Associates never contacted the victims of its coal forgeries, despite telling Congress it did so.


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced yesterday that 31,000 legal immigrants will no longer receive state-subsidized health insurance for dental, hospice or skilled-nursing care after cuts were made to close the state’s budget deficit.

UPI reports that “legal immigrants charged with crimes sometimes face double jeopardy by having to face similar charges in immigration courts.”

A federal judge delayed the trial of four former top managers at an Iowa slaughterhouse where the largest immigration raid in U.S. history took place in 2008 as she considers moving the trial to another state as Defense attorneys have requested.

National Security

Iran has ‘prepared an updated nuclear package‘ and is ready to hold talks with world powers,” the country’s state-run Press TV reported Tuesday. “Iran will offer the new package to the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany,” Press TV reported..”

The AP reports that “an American service member died Tuesday of wounds suffered in a bombing the day before in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. command said. The death was the first for the U.S. in September and comes after the deadliest month of the eight-year Afghan war for American troops. At least 49 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in August, according to a count by The Associated Press based on official announcements.”

“China canceled or postponed several events meant to highlight its rapidly improving relations with Taiwan, apparently to protest the Dalai Lama’s visit to the island,” Taiwan’s ruling party said Tuesday.