The WonkLine: June 24, 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.



Democrats working to finalize financial regulatory reform “are moving to satisfy a handful of Republican senators whose votes may be necessary to pass the legislation.” Tim Fernholz points out that they could try courting progressive votes too.

“Rising concern about the nation’s fiscal future and the fact that defense makes up more than half the country’s discretionary spending” is leading “a growing number of centrist Democrats say they’re open to trimming Pentagon spending.”

“A Republican filibuster appears increasingly likely to kill long-sought legislation extending jobless benefits and a host of other spending and tax measures,” the AP reports.

National Security

Reiterating Afghan policy won’t change after Gen. McChrystal’s dismissal, President Obama replaced his top Afghanistan war commander with current United States Central Command head, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met today “in their efforts to bridge the trust deficit,” marking the first visit of a senior Indian official to Islamabad since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, yesterday said “she is considering new policies to strengthen the U.S. border with Mexico,” following the White House’s request of $600 million for enhanced border patrol.


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarked yesterday that, “[t]he notion that you’re going to somehow seal the border and only at that point will you discuss immigration reform – that is not an answer to the problem.”

Eight Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama this week asking for confirmation that he is planning to defer deportations or grant parole to millions of undocumented immigrants in the absence of immigration reform.

Chief executives of several major corporations are joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form a coalition advocating for immigration reform — including a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants.

Health Care

“One of the first provisions of the federal healthcare overhaul — allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26 — is expected to make a big dent in the number of uninsured young people this year.”

Do doctors earn too much money? The question is hugely important, particularly since government policymakers, employers and health insurers are busily trying to rein in runaway health costs that threaten corporate competitiveness and the average person’s access to care.”

“A lawsuit has been filed to block an Aug. 3 vote on a Missouri measure challenging the new federal health insurance law.”

Climate Change

The Associated Press has discovered that the “the handling and disposal of oily materials” by BP’s contractors “was haphazard at best. ”

BP “is moving ahead with a controversial and potentially record-setting project to drill two miles under the sea and then six to eight miles horizontally” in Alaska, exempted from the moratorium on offshore drilling “even though it is about three miles off the coast in the Beaufort Sea,” because it sits on an artificial island built by BP.

While country stars performed a benefit for flood-ravaged Nashville, violent storms “producing damaging winds, golf-ball-sized hail and brief rain-wrapped tornadoes” descended upon Chicago, knocking out power for 220,000 people, as storms and flooding also hit Michigan and Missouri and a heat wave continued its grip on the Eastern seaboard.