The WonkLine: November 18, 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.



National Security

“In six hours of meetings, at two dinners and during a stilted 30-minute news conference in which President Hu Jintao did not allow questions, President Obama was confronted, on his first visit, with a fast-rising China more willing to say no to the United States.”

While President Obama landed in South Korea for the final stop on his tour of East Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an unannounced trip, landed in Kabul for the inauguration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“A little more than a year after his election, President Obama said his administration has laid the groundwork for success on global and domestic matters. ‘I think that we’ve restored America’s standing in the world, and that’s confirmed by polls,’ he told CNN’s Ed Henry.”


Senate Republicans said yesterday that “there is no support within the GOP for the financial overhaul plan outlined last week by Democrats,” because they believe “the plan goes too far by putting onerous restrictions on Wall Street that could limit the availability of credit.”

A new study by the Urban Institute found that “troubled homeowners who receive housing counseling are 60 percent more likely to avoid foreclosure and have their mortgage payments lowered significantly than borrowers who navigate the process themselves.”

The IRS said yesterday that “more that 14,700 Americans had been attracted to an amnesty program in recent months and disclosed their secret foreign bank accounts — many more than had been attracted to a previous I.R.S. program.”

Health Care

Though he lacks 60 firm commitments, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said Tuesday that “he remained cautiously optimistic that he could get the Senate’s 58 Democrats and 2 independents to vote to thwart a filibuster on what is known as a motion to proceed, the initial step in any debate.” Sens. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln haven’t committed to voting on the measure.

The Washington Post recalls how in 1997, “a federal committee of medical experts recommended against routine mammograms for women in their 40s.

“Senate health care legislation expected this week is likely to include a new long-term care insurance program to help the elderly and the disabled avoid going into nursing homes.”


Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has wrapped yet another immigrant “crime sweep,” arresting 18 people under Arizona’s anti-smuggling law which allows recent undocumented immigrants to be charged with smuggling themselves.

Immigrant rights activists are criticizing the government’s toughened immigration enforcement after yet another accidental deportation of someone who is lawfully present in the country.

According to an Arizona State University business expert, the purchasing power of Latinos is growing at a rate nearly three times as fast as that of the general population in Arizona and nationwide.

Climate Change

“Dallas investor Cappy McGarr said Tuesday his Chinese partners in a $1.5 billion West Texas wind energy farm have agreed to build a turbine manufacturing plant in the United States,” after Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “had publicly opposed the use of stimulus money to aid the companies, because its 240 turbines would be made in China by A-Power.”

Yesterday, a $14.5 million community-owned wind farm that will “stabilize power supplies and lower the high energy costs” went on line in Maine thanks to Recovery Act funds, and a “wind farm capable of generating enough power to light 60,000 average Indiana homes will be dedicated Thursday in northwestern Indiana.”

David Leonhardt discusses “Cash for Caulkers,” a major new plan to “give households money to pay for weatherization projects” and put millions of construction workers back to work.