The Wonkline: April 14, 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.




A watchdog panel led by Elizabeth Warren says that the “Obama administration’s flagship mortgage aid program lags well behind the foreclosure crisis and leaves too many families out.”

“Last winter’s economic stimulus law has put billions of dollars into taxpayers’ pockets and the economy this spring,” according to a soon-to-be-released report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

Republicans appear ready to try a “political high-wire act” on financial reform, the New York Times reports, as they “seek to oppose the Democrats’ bill while not appearing to side with the banks at a time when popular anger at Wall Street is high.”

Health Care

“Add Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the list of GOP Senators who think the constitutionality of health care reform should become an issue when President Obama picks a Supreme Court nominee.”

“The second highest-ranking Democrat in the House said he sensed a thaw after the battles over the health reform, adding that lawmakers who voted for it could see a boost for doing so during the November elections.”

“A nurse may soon be your doctor. With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor’s watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics.”

National Security

An American envoy is holding talks in Bishkek with the leadership that replaced Kyrgyzstan’s president last week and has now stripped him of his immunity.

An Israeli human rights group on Wednesday urged the international community to press the Jewish state to revoke an order under which thousands of Palestinians could be evicted from the West Bank.

Examining the significance of the nuclear security summit, the Washington Independent’s Spencer Ackerman writes that nuclear terrorism “is not a threat that is possible to hype. And that’s why the summit, with its specific commitments and its elevation of nuclear-security to the top of the international agenda, is American leadership at its most forward-looking and responsible, for us and for the world — both the world as it is and the world we want to live in.”

Climate Change

Don Blankenship’s powder kegs: Massey Energy’s Ruby Energy Mine in Mingo County, WV, has a safety violation rate ” more than twice the national average” with “seven imminent danger orders” in 2008, and the Freedom Energy Mine in Pike County, KY, has had 285 violations this year alone.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) met yesterday afternoon with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the authors of comprehensive green economy legislation which passed the House last year, to discuss the bill he plans to unveil next week.

The CEOs of the largest coal companies in the United States are testifying this morning before Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Global Warming Committee “to answer questions on their positions on climate change, clean energy policy, and the challenges that currently face their industry.”