The WonkLine: June 7, 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

Over 50 tornadoes were reported in 6 states including Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Vermont,” with “at least 8 killed, several injured, numerous schools and businesses damaged,” and tens of thousands of people without power.

According to a worker who was on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded, Transocean manager Jimmy Harrell was screaming into the phone, “Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!”

Jeff Landry, a Republican running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), who is running for Senate, called President Obama’s deepwater drilling offshore moratorium `”nothing short of a domestic attack on our economy.”

National Security

“American missiles were used in an attack that killed 55 people, including 41 civilians, in southern Yemen, Amnesty International said Monday. The human rights organization released what it said were photographs of a U.S.-manufactured cruise missile used in the December attack.”

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Sunday of Iran ‘stunts’ ahead of a visit to Latin America where regional powerhouse Brazil opposes the U.S. drive for new U.N. sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.”

“Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s three-day peace assembly, known as a jirga, has ended with delegates from across the country agreeing that reaching out to the Taliban is the best way forward to end more than eight years of war.”

Health Care

Millions of people could lose health coverage because key federal safety net assistance was not extended in the recent jobs bill.”
“States are turning up the pressure on federal lawmakers to help them pay their Medicaid bills, cautioning that they’ll otherwise face a dire fiscal situation that could hurt their economic recovery.”

New Jersey and 20 other states are urging early retirements, cutting benefits and demanding employees contribute more in the face of what the Pew Center on the States says is a $1 trillion gap between available assets and what’s owed workers.”


In Phoenix on Saturday, a pro-SB 1070 “rally’s turnout fell far short of the march organized by opponents of the law last weekend, when an estimated 20,000 people gathered.”

“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday said he thinks that Congress can get immigration reform done by March 2011, if not by the end of this year.”

The Associated Press reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “probably will get an earful about” SB 1070 on a trip to Latin America “with a crowded agenda awaiting.”


The financial regulatory reform conference committee will start to meet this week, and “the White House wants them to reach an agreement before President Obama leaves for a Group of 20 meeting this month in Toronto.”

The financial reform conference committee is “likely to retain a proprietary-trading ban and higher capital standards while stripping a measure that would bar commercial lenders from running swaps desks,” according to BusinessWeek.

Workers for Bank of America “have sued the company for allegedly failing to pay overtime and other wages.” The lawsuit consolidates 12 different cases filed on behalf of employees in California, Florida, Kansas, Texas and Washington.