The WonkLine: March 18, 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.



Many immigrants in Queens are wary about the upcoming Census, the New York Daily News reports. City councilmen are attempting to reassure immigrants who are “reluctant to fill out forms asking for personal information.”

The LA Times reports that activists are planning texting and “tacos for justice” campaigns to fight for immigration reform.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced “a series of reforms to to address inconsistencies in their E-Verify system — an Internet-based program that checks employees’ immigration status.” The reforms are designed to better address discrimination in the system, and to provide a telephone hotline to answer employers’ questions.


Reuters notes that the so called “Hotel California” provision of the Senate’s regulatory reform bill would prevent large firms that took TARP funds “from escaping Fed supervision by handing back in their bank charters,” including Goldman Sachs.

The Washington Post reports that small banks have been slow repaying TARP: “More than 10 percent of the 700 banks that got federal bailouts and are still holding the money even failed to pay the government a quarterly dividend in February.”

According to payroll data obtained by the Associated Press, “just as bank executives got bonuses despite taking on dangerous amounts of risk, regulators got taxpayer-funded bonuses despite missing or ignoring signs that the system was on the verge of a meltdown.”

National Security

“An intercepted message indicates some members of al Qaeda are looking to the group’s founder for more visible leadership, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN Wednesday after CIA director Leon Panetta talked about the message in a newspaper interview.”

“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Moscow working toward a new strategic arms agreement with Russia. The secretary’s two-day agenda includes a multilateral meeting Friday with Russian, European Union and United Nations officials to discuss Middle East peace efforts.”

“Israel warned of a harsh response after a Thai greenhouse worker was killed when a Kassam rocket fired by Gaza terrorists exploded in the Netiv Ha’asara area…A small Islamist faction calling itself Ansar al-Sunna claimed responsibility for the attack.”

Climate Change

The Senate is “close to wrapping up talks” ahead of introducing a comprehensive climate change bill, said Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who “discussed ideas with industry groups on Wednesday,” sharing details of the bill’s carbon caps with the corporate lobbyists.

“A new assessment of the Arctic’s biodiversity reports a 26 per cent decline in species populations in the high Arctic,” including lemmings, caribou and red knot,” according to the first report from the Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI).

The Chinese government has ” used every measure you could possibly think of to enhance production of renewable energy equipment in China,” says the author of a report that finds “U.S. companies are getting squeezed out of the big Chinese wind-power market even as Dallas investors are bringing Chinese firms here via a big wind farm in Texas.”