The WonkLine: November 30, 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

“President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.”

“Iran angrily refused Sunday to comply with a demand by the United Nations nuclear agency to cease work on a once-secret nuclear fuel enrichment plant, and escalated the confrontation by declaring it would construct 10 more such plants.”

In Honduras, conservative Porfirio Lobo won the presidential election. His rival Elvin Santos conceded defeat but Manuel Zelaya, the ousted president, declared the election “illegitimate.”


New polling shows that President Barack Obama “continues to be extremely popular among Latino voters nationwide,” though much of their support is contingent on action on two priority issues: immigration and health care reform.

A growing number of unemployed US-born Americans are seeking day labor jobs that have usually been done by undocumented immigrants.

A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that immigrant workers are responsible for 20 percent of the economic output of the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan areas and are a “vital force in the American economy.”

Health Care

The Senate will begin debating health care reform today at around 2 p.m. Senators will have just 25 days to debate and approve the measure before year’s end.

The Hill reports that “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will face more pressure from the left on his healthcare reform bill as unions still have a number of grievances with the legislation.”

The New York Times argues that “even a weak public plan would be better than no public plan. It would expand the choices available to millions of Americans and could help slow the relentless increases in the cost of health insurance.”

Climate Change

Nearly 10 million people have signed on to the TckTckTck campaign to “tell leaders they’re concerned about the future and ready for global climate action.”

“Despite economic uncertainty, the biggest global corporations are investing 3-5 percent of annual revenues in clean tech solutions, and they are poised to invest more, according to an Ernst & Young survey.”

A series of new reports from the UK medical journal Lancet outlines how the health threats of climate change — including “malaria, cholera, heatwaves and hunger” — can be averted by reducing pollution.


Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke wrote in an op-ed that efforts to strip the Fed of its regulatory authority and open its books to audits “are very much out of step with the global consensus on the appropriate role of central banks.”

The United Arab Emirates “helped calm markets Monday by pledging to lend money to banks operating in Dubai.” “The move by the group’s central bank was an attempt to head off the kind of crisis of confidence that froze credit markets last year and brought the global economy to the brink of failure.”

The New York Times reports that “with food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.”