The WonkLine: November 10, 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

Senate Democrats may introduce their their health care bill “as early as Monday,” vote on the bill by Christmas and pass the final conference report in January.

Last night, President Obama said “he was not comfortable with abortion restrictions inserted into the House version of major health care legislation, and he prodded Congress to revise them.” “There needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo” on abortion, Obama said.

“The battle of the airwaves has already seen more than $150 million spent this year on television ads related to the health-care debate, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. “As of Friday, about $63 million had been spent on ads favoring Democrats’ reform plans and $52 million on ads opposed, according to the analysis group.”


President Obama said yesterday “that he plans to raise the issue of the yuan currency with Chinese officials when he meets with them in Beijing next week, a potentially disruptive topic for foreign exchange markets.”

CongressDaily reports that “the credit union industry is ramping up efforts to exclude its institutions from paying into a fund to rescue too-large-to-fail firms whose collapse would threaten financial markets.”

James Kwak looks at the political problem with resolution authority: “If, say, JPMorgan Chase runs into trouble five years from now, how much confidence do we have that the government would actually invoke the power and take over the bank when push comes to shove?”


Some House Republicans are upset that GOP leadership chose not to use a procedural motion during this weekend’s health care vote to force a decision on barring undocumented immigrants from buying insurance — a vote they believe would’ve killed the bill.

One of the largest immigration crackdowns under the Obama administration took place in Minnesota last month when 1,200 janitors were fired in a ‘quiet’ immigration raid.

In an effort to court right-wing voters, Florida’s U.S. Senate candidate, Marco Rubio, has adopted a hard-line immigration position and is opposed to any path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.

Climate Change

“The world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delays implementing a major assault on global warming,” the International Energy Agency said today.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is visiting Washington today “to lobby U.S. congressional leaders and government officials over next month’s climate change summit in Copenhagen,” U.N. officials said.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) discussed why he plans to attend the Copenhagen summit: “So when Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and all the left get up there and say, ‘Yes. We’re going to pass a global warming bill,’ I will be able to stand up and say, ‘No, it’s over. Get a life. You lost. I won.'”

National Security

Maps detailing the sectarian cleansing of Baghdad question the utility of the US surge in Iraq as a template for Afghanistan, Claudio Guler writes for ISN Security Watch.

“US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said pursuing nuclear weapons was not in Iran’s own interest as she pressed Tehran to accept a UN-backed deal,” according to AFP.

“NATO leaders expect member states to commit more troops to train Afghanistan’s expanding security forces at a meeting of alliance military representatives this month,” officials said yesterday.