The WonkLine: April 29, 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

Burn, Baby, Burn: In “a sign of mounting desperation,” the “Coast Guard and BP set fire to a portion of the crude oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday in a bid to limit the impact of a widening slick,” found to be five times as bad as originally thought.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), a long-time supporter of bringing offshore drilling to his state, “today asked the U.S. Coast Guard for help in keeping an oil spill from making landfall in Alabama.”

Two coal miners are missing after an underground rock fall in western Kentucky,” which “occurred early Thursday at the Dotiki mine” near Providence, operated by Alliance Coal Company.

Health Care

“The health overhaul legislation will likely cost drugmakers $25 billion more than the $80 billion the industry anticipated when it agreed to back the Democratic-led effort, according to Wall Street analysts.”

The Kansas State Senate “declined to pull out of committee Wednesday a proposed state constitutional amendment drafted to allow Kansans to elude mandates included in federal health care reform.”

“Millions of seniors signed up for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans don’t get the best quality, an independent study found.” “The analysis found that 47 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are in plans that rate three stars or two — medium to fair quality.”


The Washington Post reports that Obama administration officials are urging “suing Arizona over its new immigration law, and the Justice Department is considering such an action to block the legislation from taking effect.”

Shortly after Democrats released their “Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform,” Republicans immediately attacked the 26-page document — despite its heavy emphasis on enforcement and border security.

President Obama said yesterday that “there may not be an appetite” to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws this year, even though he believes “there is a pressing need to do so.”


President Obama “is set to name Janet Yellen as vice chairwoman of the central bank and fill two other vacancies on the board.” If all the nominees are confirmed, Obama will have named five of the Fed Board’s seven members.

Federal Reserve officials said yesterday that “they’ll need to see more evidence of sustained gains in the job market before ending their pledge to keep the benchmark lending rate at a record low for an ‘extended period.'”

Goldman Sachs is firing up its lobbying machine in order “to kill a provision in financial industry overhaul legislation requiring big banks to sell off their derivatives-trading businesses, and rival banks are welcoming the help.”