The WonkLine: April 15, 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.




According to The Hill, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) reelection interests are putting him at odds with the centrists he has vigorously protected over the past year and a half on the issue of immigration reform.”

The Los Angeles Times writes that the anti-immigrant group that is demanding census data be used to “detect, detain and deport” immigrants is using a “clever” “scare tactic” to dissuade immigrants from letting themselves be counted.

A federal immigration officer who was caught on tape demanding sex in exchange for a green card pleaded guilty to all the charges against him in Supreme Court in Queens on Wednesday.


“The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders said Wednesday that they would press forward with legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system,” the New York Times reports.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke forecast a “moderate economic recovery” in congressional testimony this week.

China’s economy grew 11.9 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the fastest rate of expansion since 2007. Though some economists “advocated a pre-emptive rise in interest rates to curb” the resultant inflationary pressures, most nonetheless concurred that the numbers were “unquestionably sturdy.”

Climate Change

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) criticized the plan to bring the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate legislation directly to the floor by Harry Reid (D-NV) , “to avoid having to send it through the committees.”

The final death toll from Rio De Janeiro’s killer rains is 246 people, after the “worst heatwave to hit Rio de Janeiro in 50 years” in February killed 32 elderly people.

A “tropical storm ripped through impoverished villages in eastern India,” killing 122 people and damaging 300,000 homes, even as “a heat wave continued to sweep northern and eastern regions of the country,” claiming at least seven lives.

Health Care

“A new congressional staff report has defused a standoff between Democrats and large corporations over losses the firms anticipate because of the new health overhaul law. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, let his fellow committee members know Wednesday in a memo that an April 21 hearing was off.”

“Opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law jumped after he signed it.” However, only “28 percent of those polled said they understand the overhaul extremely or very well.”

“UnitedHealth Group Inc. and its rivals in the managed-care industry are gearing up to go after one of the biggest new markets to be created by the new federal health-care law”: Medicaid.