The WonkLine: March 16, 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.


National Security

“Dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli police and set tires ablaze in East Jerusalem Tuesday to protest Israel’s consecration of a synagogue in the area. Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at the demonstrators and arrested several of them.”

Gulf News reports “a call by four Egyptian opposition parties for drastic constitutional reforms is unlikely to bear fruit any time soon.”

The Washington Post reports that “the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has written an official account that details an Iranian attempt to buy atomic bombs from Pakistan at the end of the 1980s.”


Congressional Democrats are “prodding President Barack Obama to take a tougher line on China’s currency,” which is widely view as undervalued, while “drawing up legislation and convening hearings on the yuan’s effects on U.S. companies.”

The Treasury Department reported yesterday “that new lending plummeted in January at the nine largest banks that have yet to repay their taxpayer bailouts.”

Cindy Brown looks at the Obama administration’ proposal to revamp No Child Left Behind: “The proposal builds on important aspects of NCLB, but more importantly corrects its shortcomings and aggressively moves forward with a more targeted and cohesive education reform agenda.”

Health Care

Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Mann point out that the “deem and pass” is not that unusual and has been employed to handle “difficult partisan issues,” such as the ban on smoking on domestic airline flights. “Mann said Congress used this procedure 36 times in 2005 and 2006, when the GOP was in charge, and 49 times in 2007 and 2008, after the Democrats had taken control.”

Rep. John Larson (D-CT), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Monday night he “thinks Democrats already have the votes needed to pass a health bill later this week.”

Two of the nation’s most prominent pro-life groups will launch separate efforts “to push Democratic House lawmakers to support the House-passed restrictions on federal funding for abortions.”


Experts speculate that the reason that only 34,427 of the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 undocumented Haitians living in the U.S. have applied for Temporary Protected Status is because the $500 application fee is prohibitively high.

Former congressman and Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) accuses President Obama of having “completely dropped the ball” on immigration reform and criticizes him for not making it a presidential and Congressional priority.

A new study reveals that new US immigrant populations “are spreading out” away from large “gateway cities” to smaller metropolitan areas like Detroit, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs, Sarasota, and El Paso.

Climate Change

Despite the economic slowdown in 2009, levels of greenhouse gas “have risen to new highs in 2010.” Scientists say “it seems like the increase is accelerating.”

Mild temperatures and rain in North Dakota are speeding up snowmelt, threatening a repeat of last year’s flood, which displaced thousands of North Dakotans and damaged about 100 homes.

A study finds that a climate change “fix,” which proposes fertilizing “the oceans with iron to absorb carbon dioxide,” would actually poison the ocean, killing mammals and birds.