The WonkLine: January 29, 2010

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. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.



Climate Change

People need to relax and look at all the ways you might price carbon,” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) on a bill, told Reuters. “We’re not pinned down to one approach.”

The United States “formally notified the United Nations that it has embraced the Copenhagen Accord” with a 17 percent cut from 2005 emissions by 2020, “once the U.S. Congress enacts domestic legislation requiring carbon pollution cuts.”

Kentucky’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the nation,” according to a draft inventory prepared for state environment officials.

Health Care

“President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod said that despite saying jobs is his No. 1 priority and offering no deadline for getting health care passed, the president remains intent on getting a plan passed so Democrats can get on with campaigning on its merits.”

“House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller predicted Thursday that Congress will pass health care overhaul legislation this year.”

A new report scheduled to be released today by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley concludes that “insurance companies pay some hospitals and doctors twice as much money as others for essentially the same patient care.”


Members of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles ” expressed disappointment with the brief mention of immigration reform in President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address.”

The Santa Clarita councilman who admitted he is a “proud racist” has ignited “an angry war of words” over whether he “is a hatemonger who should be driven from office” or a “patriot unafraid to speak out for fellow Americans.”

The Baltimore Sun calls on Congress to expedite the entry of an estimated 55,000 Haitians with U.S. ties who are already approved and on waiting lists for visas.


The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 5.7 percent last quarter — which is the fastest pace in six years — “even as consumer spending and business investment remained tepid.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was confirmed for a second term yesterday by a 70-30. Bernanke received the most “no” votes of any chairman in history, easily surpassing the 16 cast against Paul Volcker in 1983.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that she could support the president’s proposed spending freeze only if it included defense spending.

National Security

“Facing mounting pressure from New York politicians concerned about costs and security, the Obama administration on Thursday began considering moving the trial of the chief organizer of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks out of Manhattan, administration officials said.”

“The Senate voted Thursday night to strengthen existing sanctions against Iran and impose new ones aimed at its gasoline supplies as part of the U.S. effort to dissuade Tehran from pursuing nuclear weapons and cracking down on internal dissent.”

Vice President Biden wrote in an Wall Street Journal op-ed, “For as long as nuclear weapons are required to defend our country and our allies, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal.