The WonkLine: September 25, 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. We are live Twittering the Clinton Global Initiative Conference and the Senate Finance Committee mark-up.



Health Care

According to the Congressional Budget Office, “a public plan based on Medicare rates would save $110 billion over 10 years. That is $20 billion more than earlier estimates.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that “business is parting from its traditional allies in the Republican Party on health care as companies and big corporate lobbyists lend tentative support to a congressional overhaul that conservative lawmakers staunchly oppose.”

Yesterday, Democratic senators tried unsuccessfully to “override a deal the pharmaceutical industry struck months ago with the Obama White House and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).”


The Wall Street Journal reports that the Treasury Department “is discussing ways to keep in reserve some emergency bailout funds even if the Troubled Asset Relief Program isn’t extended beyond the end of the year.”

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the U.S. “supports China’s bid for greater voting rights in international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank for itself and other fast-growing economies despite European reservations.”

The White House has asserted that “the Group of 20 largest economies will permanently replace the G-8 as the main forum for international economic cooperation in a move expected to give greater clout to developing nations.”

National Security

The New York Times reports that federal authorities have charged a man “with acquiring and preparing explosive materials like those used in the 2005 London mass transit bombings days before he traveled to New York City earlier this month, asserting that he and others were involved in a Qaeda conspiracy to strike in the United States.”

The UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that “Iran has revealed the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant.” “Iran has previously acknowledged it has one enrichment plant at Natanz, which IAEA inspectors are monitoring,” the BBC reports.

According to U.S. and Pakistani officials, “a new wave of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan has slowed the arrival of hundreds of U.S. civilian and military officials charged with implementing assistance programs.”


A former immigration facility prison guard “pleaded guilty to three counts of depriving the detained women of their civil rights and three counts of abusive sexual contact for attacking three women in the spring of 2008.”

An AOL Latino poll on the “myth” that “Hispanics don’t speak English” found that many Latinos speak English, but choose the familiarity of Spanish when talking among themselves and those who don’t speak English “want to learn English, but find it difficult to do so.”

150 leaders from the nation’s third largest Latino group, Salvadorans, gathered from across the country in Washington, DC this week at the First Salvadoran American Leadership Summit to lobby more than 80 members of Congress in support of legislation that would legalize undocumented immigrants.

Climate Change

“Climate researchers now predict the planet will warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century even if the world’s leaders fulfill their most ambitious climate pledges,” according to an updated version of a United Nations Environment Program reportthat describes accelerating climate change posted at ClimateInteractive.org.

“I’ve made very clear that any way I can help the Obama administration to be successful, I will do so,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) said when asked what he would do to fight global warming after he leaves office next year. “Did we say China, you go first with human rights, and we will follow you? No. We led.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) “will unveil legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions” and invest in clean energy “next Wednesday.”