The WonkLine: May 27, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 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

“Several days before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP officials chose, partly for financial reasons, to use a type of casing for the well that the company knew was the riskier of two options,” according to a document given to the New York Times.

President Obama today “will announce a six-month ban on drilling new deepwater oil wells, the White House said, and cancel plans for exploratory drilling and new lease sales off the coast of Alaska, as well as a proposed lease sale off the Virginia coast.”

“Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners were killed last month, has received nearly two dozen citations from federal inspectors since the accident,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


Yesterday, “top administration officials declined Wednesday to reject — or embrace — a controversial proposal in the Wall Street reform bill that would force big banks to spin off their derivatives operations.”

CNN Money reports that “Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy estate filed suit against JPMorgan Chase Wednesday, alleging that the bank demanded billions of dollars more than it needed in the firm’s final days contributing to Lehman’s ultimate demise.”

Congressional Democrats cut the cost of their extenders package by nearly a third yesterday “and delayed action for one more day as they raced to ensure passage before safety-net programs expire next week.”


Sources say DOJ officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona’s controversial immigration law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s authority to police the nation’s borders.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) denounced the White House’s decision to send National Guard troops to the border as a “submission” to demands by Republicans and slammed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for flip-flopping.

The white Long Island teenager, Jeffrey Conroy, convicted of killing a Latino immigrant in a 2008 hate crime attack in Long Island received the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison yesterday.

National Security

“President Obama’s first formal National Security Strategy argues that preserving American leadership in the world hinges on learning to accept and manage the rise of many competitors, and dismisses as far too narrow the Bush era doctrine that fighting terrorism should be the nation’s overarching objective.”

“In one of the worst rows between the two countries in decades, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday admonished the Kremlin for bowing to what he said was U.S. pressure to agree sanctions.”

“U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will be on time, Vice President Biden says”

Health Care

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico did not provide the state Insurance Division with documentation for financial losses and expense figures cited as justification for last month’s controversial health insurance rate hike, Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) records show.”

“Concerns among Republicans and Democrats about adding to the deficit are weighing down a nearly $200 billion spending bill to the point that its passage appears in serious jeopardy.”

“The new health care law does not allocate nearly enough money to cover the estimated 5.6 million to 7 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions who will qualify for temporary high-risk insurance pools, according to a report scheduled for release on Thursday.”