The WonkLine: April 12, 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

“The leaders of the 21st century will be those committed to clean energy economies,” says Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who will “introduce a new bill promoting clean energy early next week.”

Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) “requested a federal disaster declaration for damages from a spring snowstorm that could exceed $33 million,” even as he fights the EPA endangerment finding for greenhouse gas pollution.

A “severe heat wave has hit northern and eastern India with temperatures reaching more than 104F” as “prolonged drought in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China has left many rare species of wild animals and floras in dire need of water.”


According to a report by the inspectors general for the Treasury Dept. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “regulators failed for years to properly supervise the giant savings and loan Washington Mutual, even as the company wobbled under the weight of risky subprime mortgages.”

“Despite the federal government’s repeated pledges to crack down on big businesses that underpay their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service has decreased in recent years the time it spends auditing the returns of the nation’s largest corporations,” according to a new study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

ProPublica explains how one hedge fund kept the housing bubble going.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told immigration rally participants in Las Vegas this Saturday that Congress would start work on an immigration overhaul as soon as lawmakers return this week from a recess.

Thousands of immigrants and activists gathered Saturday for rallies in seven cities to press Congress and the Obama administration to go ahead this year with comprehensive immigration reform.

Four people were arrested and charged with hate crime offenses in Staten Island after a Mexican immigrant was beaten with a baseball bat, a metal chain and wooden planks.

Health Care

“Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle could use his veto power to create a state-funded public option health insurance plan in Wisconsin that would extend coverage to virtually everyone, according to a memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.”

“White House Budget Director Peter Orszag is arguing that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underestimates the savings from President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill.”

“The health system reforms signed into law in March will cover an estimated 32 million uninsured patients by 2019. But there may not be enough physicians to care for them.”

National Security

President Obama “met with the leaders of India and Pakistan on Sunday, a day ahead of a two-day Washington gathering with 47 nations devoted to the question of how to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists. In remarks to reporters about the summit meeting, Mr. Obama called the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon ‘the single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term.'”

“American soldiers opened fire on a bus passing through Kandahar province Monday morning, killing four civilians and potentially aggravating a population already wary about the influx of thousands of new American troops headed their way.”

“A new Israel Defense Forces order aimed at preventing infiltration in the West Bank is sparking angry condemnations in the Palestinian Authority. The order, which will take effect on Wednesday, poses a threat to thousands of Palestinians who will now be considered illegal under the new regulations.”