The WonkLine: March 3, 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.


Health Care

President Obama will lay out a roadmap for passing comprehensive health care reform this afternoon at 1:45pm. Obama “will indicate a willingness to work with Republicans on some issue to get a health care reform bill passed but will suggest that if it is necessary, Democrats will use reconciliation to fix the Senate bill.”

“Under the Democrats’ strategy, the House will first vote on the Senate-passed bill, which doesn’t include a government-run insurance plan, as the House version did. Then the House will take up a companion bill making some changes to the Senate legislation, such as boosting support to help families and small businesses purchase insurance.”

“A survey Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal of all House Democrats who voted against the bill last fall found at least a half-dozen lawmakers who are now withholding judgment.”


A proposed law “would make Arizona the only state to criminalize the presence of illegal immigrants.” The measure would require law enforcement “to determine people’s immigration status when there’s reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.”

Faulting media figures like Glenn Beck and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), a new report finds “‘an astonishing’ rise in ‘nativist extremist’ groups that “go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants.”

A first-year review of the Obama administration’s immigration pledges cites a “poor track record on due process for immigrants, struggling with an overburdened immigration courts system, limitations on the right to counsel, and inadequate review of appeals.”


The Senate voted 78-19 last night “to restore benefits to the nation’s jobless, ending an increasingly acrimonious battle with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) who had mounted an unyielding stand against a broad range of funding.”

The Obama administration yesterday “embraced an alternative way of defining what it means to be poor, stepping gingerly into a long-running debate over whether to revise the method that has been used to measure poverty for decades.”

“Some of the country’s biggest banks are trying to repair their battered images and win back trust with earnest ad campaigns that tentatively confront the question of blame,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

National Security

“Gabon’s U.N. Ambassador Emanuel Issoze-Ngondet, president of the UN Security Council for March, said the Iranian nuclear issue was not on the agenda of the 15-nation panel this month, but council members might still hold a meeting on it.”

BBC reports that “Ukraine’s parliament has passed a motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s government. She and her cabinet will now have to resign, while the new President, Viktor Yanukovych, will try to assemble a new coalition in parliament.”

VOA reports that “Iraqi police say at least 31 people were killed and some 48 others wounded in three suicide bomb attacks in the northern city of Baquba.”

Climate Change

The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service because they have refused to list the whitebark pine as an endangered species, even though in the past 40 years, more than half of the whitebark pines in the Northern Rockies have been wiped out by global warming.

As Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) near a new approach to comprehensive climate legislation, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) dismissed it: “Cap and trade or a first cousin of cap and trade won’t pass this year in my judgment.”

“Western Australia endured its hottest summer on record,” and Siberians are enjoying a boom in finds of the bones and tusks of woolly mammoths “as Russia’s vast sea of permafrost slowly thaws.”